I had underestimated the drive time back to Christchurch from Queenstown. That made the last day and half a bit of a marathon drive. Heading back across the Alps to the east coast through the Lindis Pass, I made my way past Mount Cook and to Lake Tekapo. On the shore of Tekapo sits a famous and much photographed church, the Church of the Good Shepherd. It is also set in the Aoraki International Dark Sky Reserve. I didn't have enough time to take on any of the hikes I had hoped to, but I was treated to more dramatic mountains, inky pastel sunsets, and one of the darkest skies I've ever seen. There were some clouds that last night, but I've never seen the Milky Way as vividly unaided before. I definitely walked into several rocks and bushes because I could not keep my eyes off of the sky.
The following morning, I made the final stretch of the drive up the east coast to Christchurch. I ate at KFC, bought a bottle of New Zealand produced whisky (from the Willowbank distillery), and fell asleep at the airport until my flight home. I will return to New Zealand someday.