Mount Cook and Twizel - March 30-31
Mar 31, 2010
|March 30, 2010
As it turned out, the drive was not as bad as I’d thought it would be but unfortunately neither was the beer last night. The resulting thumping heads were not ideal for a day in the car but we coped! As we were about to leave we saw Alex and we offered him a lift. He was going to Oamaru which was on our way so he hopped in with us. About an hour into the drive we stopped off at a place called Moeraki. Here, lying on the beach, are the Moeraki boulders. These are huge spherical boulders which just line the beach and stretch quite a way down the sand. It was cool to see them up close and quite funny to climb all over them and photograph each other climbing in and out of some of the cracked ones. They looked like a cross between dinosaur eggs and something from outer space!
Carrying on for another half an hour or so we dropped Alex in Oamaru and continued on to McDonald’s to get some food to help our hangovers. The rest of the drive to Mount Cook was nice and easy and apart from a stop in Twizel to stock up on food, we got through to the hostel in good time. The weather had been lovely all the way and we had some great views as we drove into the Southern Alps. As we reached the hostel however the larger peaks, including Mount Cook itself, were well hidden beneath a layer of cloud. And it stayed that way, too.
We just lazed around and planned for a walk tomorrow up to one of the glaciers which comes down from Mount Cook. It in fact is linked to Fox and Franz Josef and it seems strange to think we are only actually about 30km away from those glaciers right now. It seems so long ago since we were actually there, just the other side of the mountain range.
Our dinner of chilli went down really well but the remaining couple of bottles of wine we have went unopened, with coke being the preferable option for the hangovers!
March 31, 2010
Elizabeth and I have decided that we are going to extend our travels a bit more. Well, quite a lot more in fact and I spent some time last night just playing around and looking at places I might want to go. I wasn’t too late going to bed but that still didn’t mean I appreciated the 6am wake up call. We were in an 8 bed dorm and four of the guys were Japanese. When the alarm went off, seven of the eight people awoke as the alarm buzzed and vibrated for about 5 minutes. I was shouting at the guy to wake up but eventually one of his friends had to shake him to turn the bloody thing off. It was so loud and we were all really annoyed with him. On top of that, they were all checking out so for the next hour they were moving around the room packing up so I didn’t doze back off until after 7 and it seemed no time at all when my alarm went off at 8. I’m always conscious of when we have early starts and when we have shared rooms I try to pack up the night before. These guys were oblivious.
Anyway, after a nice bacon sandwich and shoving our bags in the car, we headed out and made our way towards the Hooker Glacier. The walk was signposted as being around 3 hours for the return trip and so we thought that was a good bit of exercise for us. Having the car in NZ has been great but I feel it has definitely made us lazy. We made it to the Hooker Lake which met the glacier face in about an hour and 15 minutes and were met with a brisk wind. It had been reasonably warm walking along especially with some minor inclines but right in the exposed valley it was pretty chilly. We headed back and passed a lot more people on the return leg, many obviously choosing a lie in unlike us! The return took us about the same time so just before midday we were back in the car.
We had checked out of the hostel already but had left our food there, knowing we could use the kitchen for lunch before we headed back out onto the road. We had only one slice of bread left so our limited choice of soup or sandwich became even more limited! Oh well, soup was good if not very filling with half a slice of bread each!
The drive back to Twizel took about 40 minutes. We decided to stay here rather than another night at Mount Cook as it is just that little bit closer to Christchurch for tomorrow’s drive. Ideally we’d have liked to have stayed in Tekapo, another hour or so along the way but the YHA was fully booked up there.
The afternoon in Twizel was another spent lazing around. It is nice having gotten up early, done something active and then having a nice quiet afternoon. I don’t feel like we are wasting time as we are doing all we want to and we’ve now been away over 8 months and it is nice to be somewhere where you feel you can relax. Some places we went to at the start of the trip were full of hustle and bustle and pretty full on. I almost feel completely de-stressed now! We did have another go through our packs. We had split our stuff into two and were using just my pack with everything in Elizabeth’s pack being stuff we used less often and this just stayed in the car. I argued that as we’d gone two months in NZ without most of this stuff we probably didn’t actually need most of it. Elizabeth agreed and ended up throwing away a lot of older stuff and our bags now are about half empty. We do have a box in the back of the car that we will ship back to Texas from Christchurch but after that we’ll be pretty lean!
After some leftover chili for dinner, we both settled in for a quiet night and a movie, making the most of the TV room at the hostel. A lovely bottle of wine as a suitable accompaniment, too!