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From One Beautiful Lake to Another

Thursday 19th November 2015

sunny 16 °C

Today is the day that we leave the beauty of Mount Cook for Lake Tekapo, famous for its blue lake, lupins and little church. The journey would take us no more than an hour and a half and we couldn't check in to our next accommodation before 2pm, so we were in no hurry to leave Mount Cook. The only hotel of any size in the village is called The Hermitage and I think the only reason it has been allowed to be on several floors is because the original hotel of the same name was built way back in 1884. The first Hermitage was in a slightly different location, nearer to the campsite where we started yesterday's walk. As work was being done to build a second hotel on the current site the first hotel was damaged beyond repair by two successive floods. The second hotel was finished and served visitors to the area for over forty years before being completely destroyed by fire. The current hotel maintains its link with mountaineering by being the home to the Sir Edmund Hilary Museum. This has exhibits relating to the general history of climbing in the area, including showing a film celebrating the 100th anniversary of Mount Cook being conquered by New Zealanders Tom Fyfe, John Michael Clarke and George Graham on Christmas Day 1894. They also have a 3D cinema where we watched a film that showed views of the mountains from an animated Kea (alpine parrot). The film flitted a bit from one scene to anther which was a bit frustrating but it showed some amazing footage of the precariousness of a lot of mountaineering. Once we had finished in the museum we went and had a coffee in the hotel cafe and admired the statue of Hilary looking towards his beloved Mount Cook.

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The mountain had quite a lot of cloud swirling around it at lower levels but it's peak was visible as if to give us one more view of it before we left the valley. We also had a great view of Mount Sefton and having seen a small avalanche when we were on our walk yesterday, and the way in which the snow seemed to be barely hanging onto the peak, it looked like a disaster waiting to happen. By the time we had finished our coffee it was nearing 1pm and about time we got on our way.

The first part of our journey took us back down past Lake Pukaki, looking every bit as turquoise as it did the day we arrived. We stopped briefly so I could take a couple more photographs.

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I also took a few out of the car when we turned across the bottom end of the lake, from where it looked a completely different colour, but the views of Mount Cook just as impressive. We then drove south of the hills flanking the eastern shore of the lake before turning north east across a much flatter plain before reaching the hills surrounding Lake Tekapo.

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The water looked a lovely turquoise although the degree if cloud meant that from the direction we approached it perhaps wasn't quite as dramatic as I was expecting. We found our accommodation and let ourselves in as per the instructions from our Japanese hosts. We settled in and admired the view from the apartment. We were expecting them to drop by late afternoon as their accommodation is just below ours but by 6pm we still hadn't seen them so we decided to go down by the lake in the hope of seeing the lupins that we knew should have been in flower at that time of year. They scenery certainly didn't disappoint, the flowers filled the shoreline and the colour of the lake from the shore was every bit as dramatic as I hoped it would be.

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I spent quite a bit of time taking photographs of the flowers, the lake and the Church of the Good Shepherd nearby. There were lots of other people taking photographs including a couple of Asian brides standing shivering in the chill wind whilst posing with their grooms for hundreds of photographs. I felt quite sorry for them, and taking photographs without any people in was quite a challenge. In the end I gave up and took a sneaky picture of the bride and groom.

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Once I had finished we went and got some groceries, and just before dinner our hosts popped round and filled us in on the key things we needed to know and we settled our bill. That evening the wind really got up and we went to bed with the wind howling round the building.

Posted by Gill's Travels 19:52 Archived in New Zealand

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