Wednesday 17th October: Oamaru to Mount Cook
Leaving Oamaru and the lovely little blue penguins behind we headed towards Mount Cook. We made a stop at a remote place called Elephant Rocks – definitely worth a look if you are in the area! It was this amazing collection of unusually shaped big rocks – some that looked like elephants. It was also cool because this was used as the filming location for Aslan’s camp in the Narnia film. We had fun taking some photos here (see gallery below). We then got back on the road and took the road along Lake Aviemore which passed over Benmore Dam – which was quite a sight. Food in Omarama was next on our stopping list as we headed for Mount Cook. We took a short detour at Twizel up into the more remote parts to hunt for the Plains of Rohan (a filming location for Lord of the Rings) – after some hunting (and going down a few private roads!) and gorgeous scenery we found the right spot! It was great to see 🙂 Back on the road we drove on the road straight up to Mount Cook – via the unbelievably gorgeous Lake Pukaki – definitely my favourite lake in New Zealand! We passed it back on our 2006 trip to NZ and a picture I took then forms the main pic for this website. The turquoise colour was so bright! We did notice that the weather in the direction of Mount Cook wasn’t so great so braced ourselves as we headed on the road up there. The weather did turn and wind and rain hit. We were happy to arrive at our hotel (The Hermitage Hotel) which was comfortable and if we had better weather the view of Mount Cook from our room would have been great. Unfortunately we had ridiculously noisy neighbours who decided to have a crazy shouting match for ages (and people appeared to be piling into the room for some kind of gathering) – so we asked reception to move us along the corridor to a different room away from them and were pleasantly surprised when they upgraded us to a superior room and a higher floor with an even better view. Good service by the Hermitage! We enjoyed watching a thunder and lightning storm from our balcony that evening.
Thursday 18th October: Mount Cook
We awake to yet more heavy rain here at Mount Cook and on contacting the activities desk about our planned Glacier Explorers boat trip on the Tasman Lake to see the Tasman glacier we discovered our planned trip at 11am wasn’t going ahead and with the forecast poor for this afternoon we re-booked it for tomorrow morning in the hope the weather will improve – fingers crossed! We didn’t let the weather deter us though and headed out into the crazy rain for a couple of walks (Bowen Bush Walk and Governor’s Bush Walk) which were enjoyable despite the weather! We saw some native birds and trees and enjoyed watching the rushing waterfalls and river. Lunch at the Old Mountaineer’s Cafe beckoned while we plan a little further exploration later today. Hopefully the rain and mist will lift overnight and we will have fine weather for our trip tomorrow as we are really looking forward to it.