(March 4th 2007)
We enjoyed Dunedin, it’s a no nonsense, proper town with no real tourist traps, but at the same time it has lots to do and see. Nevertheless Sunday was time to move on north and then inland to Mt Cook. On the way we paused at the famous (so we found out) Moeraki Boulders (pic above). These are giant perfectly round boulders on a beach and look fantastic. So what started as a little detour ended as a load of photos and a nice walk on the beach. Amanda collected more shells, as she’s been doing as we tour around, and I’m sure if we get an excess baggage charge it’ll be because of the new shell collection. We grabbed a couple of our favourite coffees and off we went.
Going inland, away from the beautiful coast, the mountains started appearing in the distance, and after a few hours they started getting pretty big. When you first see it, Aoraki Mt Cook looks pretty spectacular and as you get closer it gets better and better. As you get real close you see the lake that the glaciers feed, and you can’t help but gawp at the colour which is a perfect turquoise. The hotel is in a fantastic location right at the foot of the mountain and we pushed the boat out a little by booking the most expensive room so we got an amazing view. However, the room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we left the bags in the car and headed back down to our helicopter ride. There was a distinct pattern appearing as that wasn’t ready either and we had to hang on for an hour before we could have our flight. Amanda wasn’t looking forward to it (an understatement if ever there was) but we both ended up really enjoying it. The pilot dropped us off at the top of a nearby mountain on snow, so we had 5 minutes to take loads more photos of Mt Cook and amazing views. Then it was back down and also back to the hotel. Our room was now ready and the view was worth waiting and paying for. You could sit in the seat near the window for hours just watching the mountain and how it changes as the clouds move and the light altered. Needless to say there was a lot more photos taken of that.
Most hotel restaurants are so-so, this is an exception. The meal was excellent and the wine really good vfm. The highlight was watching the moon rise over the mountains, the lowlight was listening to the stupid American tourist party yee-haa-ing and crowding around our table as we were trying eat just so they could get a better view, despite the nice waitress offering to open the doors so they could go outside to see better.
Tomorrow we leave Mt Cook and head to our final destination, Christchurch.