Southland, Day One

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Otago » Queenstown
April 1st 2007
Published: October 22nd 2017
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01-Lake Pukaki01-Lake Pukaki01-Lake Pukaki

Before heading up to Mt. Cook for a tramp, we stopped at the base of Lake Pukaki with Mt. Cook in the background for several (really, it was rather excessive) photos!
Geo: -45.0311, 168.663

Great day today! We flew to the south island yesterday and picked up our rental car to drive as far as Fairlie, camping at a holiday park. It rained on us a bit in the night but otherwise slept great in the tent! And because it's a holiday park, we had the luxury of putting our rain fly on the permanent press cycle for 20 minutes to dry it out before packing it up for the drive. We were at picturesque Lake Tekapo by about 9:00 where an historic rock church with a mere six pews sits atop a hill, overlooking, obviously, Lake Tekapo, which is a rich shade of turquoise from the glacial runoff. Then it was on to Mt. Cook Nat'l Park (no admittance fee like there is in the US) where we did a wonderful 3 hour hike toward the base of Mt. Cook via Hooker Valley ("named for the botanist, not the activities" quoth the visitor information booth guy). We had to cross two swinging suspension bridges over milky glacial runoff before reaching the base of Mt. Cook and it was a stunning, blue-sky day. We later stopped in Twizel (missed you there, Dad) for
02-Hooker Valley tramp02-Hooker Valley tramp02-Hooker Valley tramp

Suspended in Hooker Valley, halfway to the base of Mt. Cook (see Sean?).
some bread and headed on to Queenstown. The drive southwest of Twizel was full of little vineyards, harvest-ready orchards, and fields and fields of Merino sheep. We stopped at a quaint, home-run pottery shop on the side of the road and bought 2 nice pieces from the potter himself, but to our dismay, he was a grumpy old codger and we nearly regretted giving him our business. Upon arriving in Queenstown this evening, we set up camp again at a holiday park, walked around town which is bustling with 20-something adrenaline junkies (bungy/ mt. biking/ skiing/ canyon swinging capital of NZ/world?), ate some supper, and went into Minus 5, an all ice bar where even your vodka drinks are served in ice glasses. With the driving (nearly 400km today) and hiking around Mt. Cook, we're exhausted tonight, but have covered some beautiful country and are loving the south island. Tomorrow it's on to the Shakespeare House in Te Anau where we'll stay for 2 nights (gladly!), and check out what Fiordland Nat'l Park has to offer. Enjoy the pics. Love you all. E&S

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03-Minus 5 Ice Bar, Queenstown03-Minus 5 Ice Bar, Queenstown
03-Minus 5 Ice Bar, Queenstown

Red noses and frozen glasses! We had the bar nearly to ourselves, sharing it only with 2 Aussies where normally, a party of 25 would be scheduled for the 30-min. session.

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