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Published: October 13th 2010
A place like New Zealand is best described in poetry. Anywhere you turn is simply poetic. It’s wonderful scenery is awe-inspiring, uplifting and stunningly breathtaking. Although I can’t write a poem to save my life, it’s worth a damn try. I planned this trip 6 months ahead,
I can’t belief it now eventuates,
I searched the internet for pictures and info,
And now the actual trip feels like a déjà vu.
Green rolling hills I think I’ve seen before,
But the beauty of it runs kilometers and more,
Mountains and valleys, blue lakes and snow,
When all put together, It’s magic, that I know for sure.
We arrived in this land in the start of Spring
Oh how amazing when birds start to sing,
Trees awaken with new shoots and buds,
In green grass I tread, and lay I must.
With very tight schedule, it’s hard to lay around
With so many places, from Auckland to Milford Sound,
Haka, waka, kea and kiwi
And other kiwiana, I have yet see …
As Sheep-human ratio is 12 to 1
Nature seems untouched, here in kiwiland
One can climb mountains, or wish to roam free
from civilization, it's the best place to be …
Our trip to New Zealand almost didn’t eventuate. Two weeks before our flight, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake devastates Christchurch - the hub to NZ South Island. Jamie tried to convince me to spend our holiday in Fiji
instead. But with 6 months of preparation I invested on our New Zealand trip, I am adamant to go whether there are earthquakes and volcanic eruptions or not. My heart is geared for New Zealand and I'm going even if it gets hit by a freakin' asteroid. Jamie was equally stubborn, so I gave him a dose of the usual “silent treatment”
- the passive aggressive form of defence “we” women usually deploy when p*ssed off or don’t get our way. Asking "what's wrong" to break the silence will just elicit a response of "nothing". Anyone who's been in a relationship understands that "nothing" really meant "something" is wrong. And whilst on silent mode, we are brewing another counter-attack (AKA prepping up the tear ducts). Anyway, to make the story short, we made it to Christchurch at midnight on 17 September 2010 (oh yeah 😊 ... the drought and silence has
been broken). We checked-in at the hotel near the airport, hired a car the next day, then off we went. We meant to stay in Christchurch for another night but due to the constant tremors or aftershocks, we decided to flee the city.
The first leg of our New Zealand road trip is a 4 hour drive to Mount Cook
with few stopovers along the way. Lake Tekapo
was our first pit stop. It’s a large beautiful blue lake that lies in the heart of the McKenzie Country with snow-capped mountains in the backdrop. Unfortunately, it was the windiest and coldest place we’ve been to with sub-zero temperature. It’s hard to fully soak in the view when it’s freezing cold. The cold also makes my ears hurt. Lake Tekapo
is also home to the Church of the Good Shepherd, built as a memorial to the pioneers of the McKenzie Country. We had the chance to quickly have a look around inside before it shuts at 4pm. The caretaker waited for us so I donated some spare change in the donation box on our way out as a courtesy. We then checked out the statue of a sheep-dog on
the lake’s edge. It was built in memory of the hardy mustering dogs, honouring them with these kind words: “without their help of which the grazing of this mountainous country would be impossible.”
A dog is truly a man’s best friend.
Our next pit stop is Lake Pukaki
- another alpine lake with distinctive blue colour due the calcium carbonate (or mineral compound) from the receding glacier that feeds it. Again, it’s stunningly beautiful and not as cold as Lake Tekapo.
We lost GPS signal past Lake Pukaki. The damn thing keeps “re-calculating” and telling us to turn to a road that doesn’t exist. I just wanna give it a good whack, or even better throw it out the window. Panic starts to set in as the sun is about to retire. We’re not sure if we’re lost or not. We just kept on driving. The snow thickens as we get further and further into the mountains. We stopped by a shop to ask for directions. It’s quite a relief to get the reassurance that we’re heading in the right direction. It’s just after sunset when we reached Mount Cook. I booked a Front-Facing family room
at the Alpine Lodge with a great view of the majestic snowy mountains. We headed down to the Old Mountaineers Cafe for dinner after checking in. A young Japanese couple gave us half of their pizza whilst waiting for our order to arrive. We didn’t shy away with their act of kindness and gladly had it as an appetizer. An older couple nearby who are also from Australia took a liking of Ryan. They like chatting with him and even taught him how to tie his shoe-laces. Everyone at the cafe are very friendly, especially the lady waiting our table. After devouring our dinner, we ordered desert by the fireplace in the lounge area. Ahhh...
There’s nothing like savouring a sticky date pudding with a hot cappuccino by the fireplace whilst snowing outside. It feels like Christmas !
The next morning, I looked through the window and been greeted with a million dollar view. It just can’t get any better than this I thought. The snowy mountains are even more beautiful up close in broad daylight. Living in the sunshine state of Queensland for over 20 years where snow never fall, staying in a remote alpine village is a novelty.
I am also delighted that it wasn't really that cold as I expected.
After only few days in New Zealand, Jamie now wants to get a job and live here for a couple of years. Hmmmm, we'll see ..... Mount Cook National Park
is a World Heritage site. It will be a shame not to explore it on foot. We went to the i-Site center to get info on walking tracks and places to go. But because of the heavy snowfall, most of the tracks are closed. The only one open is the Governor’s Bush
. It’s only an hour hike through forest of native vegetation. I strongly recommend it. Imagine hiking through the forest with the touch of snow. Simply magical. It reminds me of Narnia. Next destination - Queenstown .....
Oh yeah, before I forget, the alpine fresh water of Mount Cook is the best water I’ve ever drank in my life. Someone should bottle it. It’s better than any mineral and spring water out there. As they say, there must be something in the water. Cheers ! 😊
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