Mount Cook : or maybe not !

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November 28th 2018
Published: November 28th 2018
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It’s always an aim in South Island to visit Mount Cook and to be able to see it , which I actually did back in 2011. So fingers crossed Jenny and I set off from Oamaru and again taking a route less travelled we came upon a place where there were Maori rock paintimgs and a mobile coffee van ! Yes it really was , not a camper van disguised as a coffee van .... like the famous Jucy Lucy vans ( I forgot to put a photo of one in the last blog). It’s not very often I get an uncomfortable feeling about a place ,Takirora, but as we walked under the rock face to see these paintings I didn’t like it , if there was an earthquake we wouldn’t stand a chance. My experience of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake sometimes has my hair standing on end so it did here, and I wanted to get to that coffee van as quickly as possible. Not sure if I saw the rock art at all ...just wanted to get out of there.

However next stop was a side road to the clay cliffs at Omarama.... it’s a bit of a detour off the main road on some unsealed road and then though a gate where you pay a small fee in an honesty box. But it really is worth the detour ... I’d done it before so wanted Jenny to see this.... a towering eroded cliff face ...the erosion is something like what you see in USA Bryce Canyon’s quite spectacular and especially as the sun was shining.

Arriving at the most beautiful turquoise blue Lake Pukaki we drove down the valley towards Mount Cook it was bright and sunny but oh dear I could see dark clouds ahead and yes the further we drove into the valley the dark clouds turned to heavy rain and the wind blew mightily so when we finally reached Mount Cook village we didn’t even bother getting out of the car . Sorry Jenny you weren’t going to get to see Mount Cook this time ...and apparently there a very few Kiwis who have ever seen it ! But on the way back as the rain eased somewhat it was picnic time and we sheltered behind a big rock eating our cheese and Ham rolls until Jenny said we‘re getting back in the car and we gave up !! Back along the valley again into the sunshine and onwards to another fabulously turquoise lake Tekapo we went ...and on to the lovely little town of Geraldine to stay the night in another BnB. There wasnt a lot to choose from for dinner but it was a warm evening and we could sit outside at the local Tavern and have a good portion of steak and chips.

Now we were on our way back to Christchurch where started from and the rain was going to keep us company for the next few days until we would fly to Wellington in the North Island. Jenny looks avidly at the local maps and when she sees a walk we can do we’re off , rain or no rain as I said! Highway 1 is quite a boring route back to Christchurch so I always have driven a longer route via Mount Hutt and the Rakaii Gorge , normally beautful scenery but not so much to see in the rain unfortunately! But there we were at Peel Forrest and there Jenny had a walk to Acland Falls which sound rather grand . I didn’t count the wooden steps up steep inclines through the forest but it felt like a thousand and in between the steps were steep paths and then we’d go up, down and up again .... and finally we came to a small trickle of a stream . I looked at Jenny in amazement “Is this it.” Well not quite as she made her way over the rocks in the stream round the corner was a smallish waterfall. Nothing to compare to waterfalls we’d seen previously ...but it was mossy and pretty there with lots of birdsong so we could just about appreciate to effort we’d made to get there! Then a bit of good luck we saw another path leading back to the road which didn’t look so bad so Jenny volunteered to do the longer up down up down up down route back to the car park and I did the up down up down shorter route back to the road and she came along after a few minutes and rescued me!

Back in our NZ Home with Diane and Dave in Christchurch we had clocked up 2070 km on this round trip in the South Island...a whirlwind tour but Jenny and I had got to see lots of very special wonderful places and we’d had some amazing experiences.

Now it was on the North Island.

Additional photos below
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2nd December 2018

Hiding Mountains
The road less traveled is the best way to go. I can understand why you didn't like walking to see the carvings. Life experiences change us. Sorry the mountain didn't cooperate..... Sounds like a great adventure even though you had some rain.
2nd December 2018
Flying North

Amazing flight
Life is good.

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