This has to be one of the best sights of the south island. Following the quite unbelievably blue Lake Pukaki along an almost deserted winding road, Mount Cook looms into view with its snow capped peak dwarfing the other surrounding summits. Ruth’s uncle Vaughan described the view and drive as one of the sights of his life. I quite agree.
We took a brief stop-off at Peter’s Lookout for a bite to eat and strangely stumbled upon the car that we eventually bought. Not a bad spot for a ham sarnie I reckon you’ll agree.
Mount Cook is now home to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, basically a huge shrine to the big man. I think it’s fair to say they’re a teeny bit proud of the fella, being a Kiwi and summitting the tallest mountain in the world. Fair enough too. Reading about his exploits inside the museum was inspiring to say the least. We sat and had a beer in the sunshine looking out at the mountain and pondered following in old Ed’s footsteps up Mount Cook as training for Everest. Nah, maybe later.
Further down the highway is Lake Tekapo, another lake of extraordinary azure, where we spent the night. The following day we rolled up (for the first time in as long as I could remember) to a church. The Church of the Good Shepard sits perched on the edge of Lake Tekapo with an astonishing view through it’s highly polished windows – someone’s been busy. How they ever get anyone to listen in that place with the congregation sat gazing out over the lake I’ll never know. I noticed the donations box was overflowing.
Ok, now the slightly geeky part. It wasn’t just that we went to visit one of the locations that The Lord of the Rings was filmed, it was that we got back in the car, got the laptop and USB out and found the exact spot in the film where we were standing. We couldn’t resist. Really though, it was incredibly impressive. We drove for what seemed like forever along a dusty gravel track following our road map with the little gold ring on it to mark the spot. What turned out to be half way there we stopped in a small, well, gathering of caravans. The ‘town’ had a name, I can’t remember what it was, but it reminded us of those abandoned wastelands you see in horror films. You know the ones, where some madman comes chasing you with an axe and rancid breath. We got out of there sharpish.
A few k’s further we came upon Mt. Sunday, the location for Edoras (my guide book tells me). What a job these location finders have for films – whoever it was found a blinder in this one.
Few more pics below. Click to enlarge them.