Another long driving day – 6 hours – from Arthurs Pass National Park to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, which is in the midst of the Southern Alps.
Most of the scenery along the way was very pastoral (bucolic, as Diana would say.)
However the guest house where we stayed last night was the most bucolic place I’ve ever seen. Inhabited by a young couple (both tall, blonde and gorgeous, like many NZers) with two small children, in a lovely little house with wonderful landscaping (rose gardens galore, grasses, etc,) fields with an alpaca herd, henhouse, a dog, laundry blowing in the wind. Absolutely pastoral, but still only 70 km from Christchurch.
One of my favourite things about travelling is seeing how other people live, in locations and circumstances unlike anything I’ve seen. Sometimes I’m very envious – and I was with that guest house situation last night!
Anyway, I digress.
Back to today’s driving…until we got much closer to the Alps, the scenery was all farming – herds of cattle and sheep (most were newly-shorn, which makes them very skinny and sad-looking!) and fields of various crops. Pretty but not overwhelming.
But finally the mountains started appearing on the horizon and eventually we encountered two lakes – Lake Takapo and Lake Pukaki, which are very much of the brilliant turquoise denomination. Lake Pukaki sits close below Mount Cook and heralded our arrival, finally, at our destination.
We have had spectacular weather and we arrived here to amazing views of these serious mountains all around us. However it appears that tomorrow will be rainy and cool here at Mt Cook. Peter is hoping that means more snow at higher elevations.