Thursday, 9 January 2014

Some time in Central New Zealand

And tonight’s campsite…

That is Mount Cook in the background.  We’re writing this blog now waiting for the stars to come out, because there are no streetlights for miles, and not many clouds for a change.  Problem is, it takes a very, very long time to get dark.

Back to where we left off.  At Moke Lake we decided to do a combined cycle and walk along the moonlight track.  The cycling was great until a massive down and uphill, but generally it was high up the side of a beautiful valley.  We dumped the bikes on a steep hill and walked up towards Ben Lomond.  This turned out to be a lot further than we expected, but eventually we made it to the viewpoint over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

On our way down we were nearly back at our bikes when we met a couple of other cyclists, Edwin and Mattheus.  Edwin had broken his hire bike chain miles from anywhere.  James and Helen to the rescue!  We couldn’t fix the chain, but we could give them a magnum and a ride into Queenstown.  Aren’t we great.

The following morning it was pouring with rain so we drove to Lake Wanaka to a luxurious campsite with FREE WIFI and a spa/sauna.  We stopped at Arrowtown on the way there – so did all the other tourists.  In the evening it cleared up enough for a stroll by the lake.

The path down below
Yesterday we set off on another epic, this time a bit shorter and better prepared.  We climbed Roys Peak – 1300m of ascent.  We’re quite proud of that.  We’re not proud of being overtaken by almost everyone else on the mountain including 3 lads in skinny jeans with only a bottle of water each.  We got soaked on the way down but the views from the top were superb.

In the evening we went to see the Hobbit again.  This time in 2D so that we could actually see what was going on.  Really quirky cinema – Cinema Paradiso – they include an intermission to sell freshly baked homemade cookies and ice cream.  They also do an excellent pizza.

On the way home we were finally up late enough on a clear enough night to see some stars, including the Southern Cross.

Finally on to today.  A lot of driving but worth it.  We drove to Lake Tekapo, which is a stunning blue.  To get there we crossed enormous plains with mountains around the edge.  At the lake is an observatory with a café.   After lunch we drove a bit further and got the bikes out for a cycle down the side of the lake down a gravel road – surprisingly hard work!  It was great though.

Now we have driven some of the way back towards Wanaka (and therefore the West Coast, our next destination) and have found a free camping spot on the shore of lake Pukaki.  Mount Cook is right at the head of the lake, and we’ve taken a million photos.

Word of the day: blue

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