New Zealand’s highest peak. The Cook, the pinnacle, the mount of all mounts that spread across the vast land that New Zealand holds.
Driving day. Tekapo was in sight and our next somewhat planned destination. We were about forty minutes off when we saw a Mount Cook road sign pointing in the opposite direction as Tekapo. Change of plans! We’re sleeping with Mount Cook in view.
What an incredible drive, down highway 80, following Lake Pukaki top to bottom bringing you to the base of this amazing beast! This lake was something. The bluest of blues, more aqua and turquoise. What seemed to be the saturation colours on full but seeing it through live vision out of my own eyes and no photoshopped computer screen.
After forty minutes, Lake Pukaki came to an end and Cook was very much in sight. It stands what seems to be alone surrounded by other wonders including the mountains that call home to Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers (see ‘Glacier Goodness’ blog for more info on Franz). The township of Mount Cook is home to not much apart from a huge hotel block, a hostel, a few homes and a primary school. They let the scenery speak for itself really. We went in looking for a caravan park and drove away again to the only one around, twenty minutes from the base of Cook. Glentanner Park is the option we had and we took it. It was lovely with a ten minute walk to the waters edge of the lake plus a superior view.
We met fellow travellers, two girls from Norway and a Swissman. The star gazing in this area of the south is world famous, however lucky us scored cloud cover. Not thick but limiting the star gazing experience. Never mind, the company is what counts!
Oh! There’s also a cute little Lavender farm on the way. Make a stop there!
We only spent one night here which was enough to just enjoy the scenery. Once again, go hiking, take a scenic helicopter or some mountain bikes out and you will easily fall in love.
We headed out to Tekapo expecting to stop here before our last destination however we drove though it, checked out the beautiful lake and the Church of the Good Shephard and decided to keep moving heading towards Christchurch. We ended up in Akaroa located about an hour from Christchurch. This is a little French town equipped with a beach, quirky shops, some great bars and a lovely little light house. An evening stroll along the beach resulted in a tasty and refreshing cider at a small local. $10.50 mind you, for one glass of cider! I wasn’t expecting that but it was worth every penny.
We explored the township on the morning of day eighteen before heading out to Christchurch, the final destination of these three incredible weeks.