It was freezing when we awoke this morning and I put on my new jumper for the first time! I peered under the blind to see lots of folks pointing their cameras across the lake and decided to join them as the sun was just touching on the range of mountains and there was low cloud adding an extra layer of interest. It was great to see several young people wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags watching from a large rock.
Because of the temperature we didn't hang about but got on to the road soon after breakfast and took Doug's Road (Mt Cook road) thirty odd miles up the western side of Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook Village. The information centre is a fabulous building with a huge picture window looking out on to the snow capped mountains and the side hugging glaciers. We had a cuppa and a muffin (becoming standard mid morning fare now!) and a bit of a look around the centre. I read a few pages from the Memorial Books and it brings it home how dangerous these mountains are even to the most experienced mountaineers, sobering reading. We decided to follow the Hooker Valley Track which gets you as close as possible to Mt Cook without donning mountaineering gear and takes about three hours there and back. This was an astonishing trail with glacial lakes and out wash plains,glaciers and the ever present view of Mt Cook which was clear of cloud. There were three bouncy suspension bridges to cross for extra fun. We both thoroughly enjoyed this walk although it meant we had to skip seeing the Clay Cliffs as we needed to cover some distance to make sure the Queenstown drive isn't onerous tomorrow.
Once back on the road down Lake Pukaki and once again crossing Dead Horse Creek (couldn't spot the horse!) we briefly stopped in Twizel and had yummy late lunch at the Hydro Cafe, where I told the young man behind the counter about Sawcut Gorge and he resolved to head up there. Then it was on through the Lindis Pass with its spectacular views.
We are now wild camped, and once again completely alone, at the old site of Bendigo School (originally for the children of the gold miners working in the area). Oscar protested a bit at the incline up to the site on the gravel road and changed gears several times, but we are now on the flat and I am about to start cooking dinner.
Rainie was right about everything today, including seeing the Clay Cliffs from the road, thankyou rainie!t
My blip is taken on the Hooker Valley Track with Mt Cook in the background.