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Published: July 14th 2012
Day 1: We picked up our 4x4 getting extra insurance and the hire costs all for $150 for the 3 days, between three of us a bargain! We made our way out of Christchurch with our first peak of the snow capped peaks almost as soon as we hit the main road out! We had been blessed with clear blue skies and crisp weather which was perfect to see all the peaks. We made our way, firstly with the hills in the background then by having them by the side of us with snow covered fields and snow by the side of the road. We arrived in Lake Tekapo by the afternoon and went to the hot springs which look out over the lake for sunset. It was beautiful but I would say that in hindsight it was only going to get more spectacular. Lake Tekapo was a very small village with lots of ski chalets but very few people around, other than at the hot springs and in the thriving local pub.
Day 2: More very crisp weather and a hard frost which took a while to clear the car of. After buying some much needed venison pies for
supplies we set off and got to Lake Pupaki which sits below Mount Cook in no time. After a short stop here where Sam dipped his legs in the ice cold water we headed up to Mount Cook Village to the very small collection of holiday homes and the Edmumnd Hillary Visitor Centre looking out to the half way point of Mount Cook. There was a lot of snow here, probably the most that I had ever seen, this was until we went on the Doubtful Sound tour. The roads were all good and cleared of snow and well maintained, a common trait through the whole of our trip. Thankfully no need for the snow chains ion the boot! We stopped for a coffee and a venison pie then headed on dropping down now into valleys of sheet and arable farming and then taking the turn off to Lake Wanaka for dusk. The lack of light prevented great views of the lake but we were to make up for lost time the next day. Day 3: After a short walk around the town and a coffeee overlooking the shores of Lake Wanaka at this point with lots of cloud covering
the peaks, the first cloud we had seen for a few days. We set off round the western side of the Lake, as recommended by the taxi driver in Christchurch, to Glendowie Bay. This was a short drive and as we got closer the clouds parted to uncover the treble cone ski field and various over mountain ranges. We continued round the bay and up to the ski field where we had fantastic views of the Lake and all the mountains. A little pressed for time we left and made our way to Queenstown the scenic way going up and over the mountains and then round the bottom of the Lake to the centre of Queenstown. We dropped the car off with no trouble and spent the evening soaking up the last day of Winterfest in Queenstown.
Day 4 : An early start for our pick up and tour for Doubtful Sound. 6:$5 saw us getting picked up by the taxi and a short drive to the tour office, coldest morning so far at -7degC that am. That made for a cold journey around the Western part of Lake Wakatipu as the sun gradually rose. We reached Manapouri around 9
and boarded a boat to cross Lake Manapouri to join us up to a coach which drove us for an hour over the tops of the ranges and down to see the first glimpses of doubtful sound with huge mounds of snow all around our path. We then boarded our Cruise boat that would take us out into the sound for the next 3 hours. The photos probably dont really do the Tour justic but you get an idea of what we saw. The return journey was again a mix of boat and coach travel with a stop in the power station which sits at the bottom of Lake Manapuri and harnesses the energy which is created from the drop in water level between the Lake and where it enters into the sea in the Sound. We arrived back in Queenstown hopeful to get our first well esteemed 'Ferg Burger', Queenstown original and finest ut the wait was over an hour so we headed to the main food hall.
Day 5: After a late start we mooched around town,this time successful in getting a Ferg, then boarding a cruise onthe Lake that Queenstown sits on so that we could
oogle at the views from the water for 90minutes. This was well worth the $15 each that Sam and I paid for it as another one of our daily deal specials! The cold had really begun to get to us and we needed warming, I bought UGGs but all that Rob and Sam could think about, well mostly Rob, was getting to the nearest pub. We did this and that evening sampled some more of what Queenstown had to offer in various drinking holes, as it is known as one of the best places to party in NZ. We sampled the Ice Bar, again with discounted entry with another deal voucher that Sam and I had bought!
Day 6: A late night/early morning and we had to check out by 10. We wondered around time, partially hungover and sleep deprived and stumbled across a very nice park which went out on a peninsula around the lake. We caught up with a guy that Sam and I had met in an Auckland hostel and then got a lift to the airport with a guy that Rob used to go to school with and had no idea he was even in
NZ until he got here and hadnt seen for 6 years! This country is such a small place. Our flight went smoothly and landing and getting off the plane in Auckland felt like we were in fact again on holiday with the warmth and moisture in the air felt immediately.
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