A Travellerspoint blog

Day 5 - Mt Cook

overcast 14 °C

We ate in-house last night and had a suprisingly good meal whilst "people watching" all the tour groups - most entertaining. Our morning walk this morning was a wander around Twizel. We have learned that there are views of the mountains from every part of town! Twizel was a temporary town built to support the bulding of the Benmore Dam and most of the houses in the town are the original little pre-fab cottages. 30 years later Twizel is still going and the little pre-fabs are still being lived in! After a quick buffet breakfast in the hotel, we headed for Mt Cook. The drive up there is full of spectacular scenery everywhere you look. We spent some time looking around the Alpine Centre and the Sir Edmund Hilary Museum then headed for Tasman Glacier. The road was gravel but still very good. The sign said 15 mins walk to the Tasman Glacier lookout from the car park so off we went. What it didnt say was that it was all uphill and the last bit was basically a scamble up rocks but we did make it to the top albeit puffing and panting and taking much longer than 15 mins! Tasman Glacier was not what we expected - most of it has gone. There is a lake where some of it once was with big chunks of glacier ice in it. Apparently its height once was higher than the lookout point we were standing on. Now it is way down below. All the same, the climb was worth it with spectacular views in all directions. We clambered back down again and returned to the Alpine Centre to watch a very interesting 20 min 3D movie about Mt Cook then had lunch whilst gazing at the snow covered mountains just metres away. Time to wave goodbye to Mt Cook. Before returning to Twizel we visited Lake Ohau - again more harsh but beautiful scenery. R&R time now then we are planning to go into town tonight and see whats shaking in Twizel.

Posted by nzaqua 20:05 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 4 - Geraldine to Twizel

sunny 15 °C

Last night after drinking a bottle of Canterbury Sauv and nibbling on some of the Geraldine Cheese we had bought, we headed for the Village Inn for a very pleasant pub style meal. This morning revealed a glorious sunny day. After a home cooked breakfast comprised of Akaroa Bacon and Eggs we headed off to explore Geraldine a bit more on our way out of town. After visiting some of the towns historic buildings and local domain where the rhodendrens caught our eye we headed for Fairlie. We are very glad we travelled to Fairlie via Geraldine as it a truly scenic route with lush rolling green countryside all around with the snow covered moutains as the constant backdrop. The scenic was especially nice today basked in sunshine. We stopped at Fairlie for petrol then moved on to Lake Tekapo. The first glimpse of the soft blue waters of Lake Tekapo wth the snow covered mountains as a backdrop took our breath away. We stopped and looked a while, not quite believing this was real. Next stop, the famous Church of the Good Shephard on the shores of the lake a bit further around but we had to wait to go inside as there was a wedding on! It was frezzing cold and very windy but their photos will be spectacular all the same. In the meantime, we checked out the statue of the Border Collie and explored the town centre then we were able to look inside the church and get that famous view out to the lake through the window. Back on the road again, the countryside is very different now - the grass has given way to tussock scattered with rocks and it is mostly flat with much bigger mountains as the backdrop. Again the first glimpse of Lake Pukaki takes our breath away. It obviously had the same effect on the camper van in front of us who stopped dead in their tracks when turned the corner to reveal the lake! A little further along we saw a sign post to the salmon farm. Mum had told us that was worth a visit and we had tried to come in from the other end along the canal route as she had also recommended but the road was closed. This time we were successful in getting to it driving along the side of Lake Pukaki with Mt Cook looking sparkling and regal above it. The contrast of colours enhanced by the sun is too amazing to even reproduce in a photo. We feel lucky to have been able to see it on such a lovely day. The salmon farm was interesting and we purchased some hot smoked salmon which we ate a short while later sitting in the sun in Twizel on a park bench with some fresh bread - heaven. We are now at the Mackenzie Country Inn and plan to dine in-house tonight.

Posted by nzaqua 20:43 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Day 3 - Akaroa to Geraldine

overcast 12 °C

Last night we dined at Ma Maison in Akaroa. We had the restaurant almost to ourselves and had a prime spot by the window right beside the harbour so we were able to sit and watch the sun go down whilst sipping on a tasty Chardy. We would never get tired of looking at that beautiful harbour. The meal was suburb. Rich had the seafood chowder, which he said was probably the best he had ever had. I had the whitebait omelete which was also supurb. We both had Akaroa salmon on a crayfish and prawn rissotto which was one of the nicest meals we have ever had. The risotto by itself was a prize winner. Add the salmon and you have heaven. Thanks Ma Maison for a lovely evening. This morning, we returned to Bully Hayes for breakfast after our morning stroll along the waterfront. I had the salmon and spinach omelete which was delicious. I have now had Akaroa salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Life is tough. Another stroll around the town marvelling at the little old overgrown cottages and we had to wave good bye to Akaroa. We turned off before getting to Christchurch and went through Lincoln to Leeston, our first stop. Lincoln is the start of the majestic Canterbury Plains - miles and miles of flat, fertile farming and crop land all beautifully manicured. At Leeston is the butcher who the 2012 prize for the best bacon. We purchased a couple of packets, exchanged a bit of banter with the jovial butcher and accepted the savs he gave us (yep really) then were back on our way. Next stop was Rakaia for a comfort stop. Having just crossed NZ's longest bridge we decided to get off the main road again and headed for NZ's longest stretch of straight road which would join us up with the scenic inland route to Geraldine. As we continued to drive across the Canterbury Plains, the Alps covered in snow got closer and closer and offered us a most enjoyable and truly scenic drive. We stopped again at Mayfield for some cold drinks although it was not a hot day by any means. A short while later we arrived in Geraldine. We wandered around the town exploring all the little shops and purchased some local cheese and local chocolate for later, then a couple of hot home made pies for lunch and checked into our motel, Scenic Route Motor Lodge. Another trip out again after eating our pies to explore the town a bit more and pick up some supplies and we are now having some quiet time before deciding on the evening's activities.
Another shot of the snow clad Alps

Another shot of the snow clad Alps

A good coating of snow on the Alps

A good coating of snow on the Alps

Posted by nzaqua 19:49 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 2 - Akaroa

all seasons in one day 8 °C

We had a very pleasant meal last night at Bully Hayes (apparently he was a local rogue and a vagabond from yesteryear). It was cosy inside by the roaring fire despide the freezing temperatures outside. My seafood chowder went down very nicely. Despite waking to a glorious day, the wind soon rolled in and sadly by 11am when we were due to go our our Harbour Cruise, the harbour was rough and wild and the cruise was cancelled. In the nicest part of the morning we had wandered all around the town exploring the local history and discovered the local boucherie where we purchased some local bacon, hot smoked salmon and another treat to be shared with the family. After a break in our lovely room reading our books and glancing from time to time at the harbour as the squalls came and went, we ventured out again and for a pint and a small salmon pizza, then stopped off for a spa on the way back to warm up. Yes, it is still freezing. Back at our room now for some quiet time before we venture out again in search of the evening meal. So the day hasnt been as planned but has been very pleasantly filled all the same - this is such a tranquil and beautiful place.


Posted by nzaqua 19:37 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Woke to a stunning monring in Akaroa

A few pics from our morning walk

sunny 5 °C


Posted by nzaqua 12:50 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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