Tuesday, 8 March 2016

New Zealand - Mount Cook, Lake Tekapo & Lake Pukaki

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Mountain view from Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook
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Picture-perfect Lake Pukaki on a clear day
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Lake Tekapo and lots of lupins
After leaving the lovely gardens of Hotel Ashburton behind, we headed off for Mount Cook.  The journey was long and the roads winding and narrow.  The view, however, was spectacular.  Beautiful blue skies, mountains, sparkling lakes were a sight for tired eyes. 


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Thankfully, we stopped at Lake Tekapo for a short while to break our journey.  For reference, the distance from Ashburton to Lake Tekapo is 139km. 

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Pink and white lupins
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Lake Tekapo is surrounded by mountains and pretty lupins.  It was my first time seeing lupins.  They grew wild in the area.  Obviously, there were lots of tourists around snapping photographs with the carpet of lupins.  Everyone was childishly delighted to see so many lupins.  It was slightly overcast that day and rather cold and windy.  I enjoyed it, nonetheless. 

Japanese lunch near Lake Tekapo
After lunch at a nearby Japanese restaurant, we set off for Mount Cook National Park.  We had to pass through the national park to get to our hotel for the night, The Hermitage Hotel.  It was raining and quite cold when we arrived at the hotel.  The mountain views, although obstructed by mist, were spectacular as the hotel sat right at the foot of Mount Cook.  The first thing I noticed about the hotel was that there were images of Sir Edmund Hillary plastered almost everywhere – even on the window of our room! 
A working fireplace!!!!
Firewood in the Hermitage Hotel
I was really excited to see a working fireplace near the reception desk of the hotel.  The hotel offered various activities, including a trip to the nearby glaciers that we missed as we didn’t have enough time.  I would have loved to see the glaciers, especially since I don’t think I would ever visit Mount Cook again. 

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The view from inside the Hermitage Hotel
The Hermitage Hotel was nice although our room was a bit small.  I spotted a grand piano near the lifts, with a lovely view of the mountains.  The dinner and breakfast buffets were quite good and the , although I think the food could be fresher.  I guess it can’t be helped, considering the location.  Oh yes, possum stew was one of the dishes on offer.  My first time trying possum.  The coffee machine was amazing – beverage of your choice at a touch of a button! 

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The next morning, we awoke to the sun shining through the clouds.  However, it was still extremely cold.  We left after breakfast for our next destination – Queenstown.  I would have liked to stay another night at Mount Cook. 

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Snow capped mountains, viewed from Lake Pukaki
We also visited Lake Pukaki, which is in the Mount Cook area.  Actually, we stopped by the lake more than once on our journeys on South Island but I just can’t remember when.  On a clear day, you will get a great view of the mountains.  I think we got lucky on our third visit.  The sight was simply breathtaking! 


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I could never tire of a view like this

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