Aoraki Mount Cook

New Zealand: Day 5 – To Mount Cook National Park

We began our day by shooting a couple of panos of French Bay. The morning light was very nice on the rocky beach along the coast. Then, we were off to breakfast. We had a long drive ahead of us: 385 km (about 5 – 6 hours drive time depending on the number of stops for photos).

The trip was not without a bit of rural excitement: the herd of cows (hundreds of them) running down the road. Yes, once we got off of the Banks Peninsula (former volcano), most of the drive was very flat, rural, farm country against a backdrop of gorgeous, snow-capped mountains. It took us probably 5 minutes to navigate our way through the heard of giant beasts. The cows were not amused.

Much to my dislike, when we made our first pitstop, I opened the door to discover a thick coating of farm animal (cow, horse, pig, sheep, goat) manure almost inside the car on the inner lip of the car door. Fortunately the gasket seal kept it out of the car! The smell! Oh, the smell!

Steve, of course, delighted in the situation. He had been deliberately running over the cow patties as he drove down the little 2 lane roads. (He claims this was not the case, but let me assure you…!) Squishhhh. Splaaaaaatter. Giggle. Repeat. Over and over again! Tim was not amused.

We had chatted with a Kiwi couple (I think the lady was an artist as she had lots of blank canvases with her.) as we were loading the car in Akaroa. They told us that the last 50km of the drive were going to be stunning. The whole drive was beautiful for entirely different reasons, but when we hit the 61 km mark, we were stunned!

The sunlight coming through the various cloud layers that were shifting and reshaping shown on the emerald lake (Mt John Lake Tekapo) in the most striking ways. We weren’t prepared to stop and had to go a bit further before we could turn around. The intense stop and shoot had begun! I think you will appreciate the photos when they are posted later. The views were stunning–other worldly. This iPhone photo doesn’t do this place justice.

Lake Pukaki
Lake Pukaki

By the time we got to The Hermitage, a thick stew of clouds enshrined the snow-covered mountains around us. We have lost the light of day and are catching up with blogging and such before dinner time. We are situated in one of the (literally certified as such) darkest places on the earth with as little man-made light pollution as you can imagine. It is dark here at night. I would love to shoot some star trails. Hopefully the clouds will clear.

I can’t wait to explore Mount Cook National Park tomorrow!


Numerous photos will be added once I’ve had time to download them from my camera, resize them, and upload them to my blog. Stay tuned.