The Matakauri Room View: Cecil Peak

New Zealand: Day 7 – Mount Cook National Park to Queenstown

Update Notice

If you didn’t notice, I wrote an update to Day 7’s post. Mount Cook made a dramatic appearance in the very wee hours of the morning. Be sure to check out the update.

Sunrise Mount Cook National Park
Sunrise: Mount Cook National Park

This Morning

Sunrise behind the mountains was striking this morning. While Mount Cook never made an appearance, the gorgeous sunrise made up for it. I shot several pictures from the hotel room and from an outside balcony.

Wondering if Mount Cook might show up again, I setup a time lapse which ran during breakfast. I’m not sure it worked as the lighting conditions dramatically changed during the time lapse, and, since I was at breakfast, the camera settings went unadjusted for the changes. We’ll just have to wait and see how (if) that turns out.

Glistening off of the mountain peeks, the sunlight this morning made for a completely different look in the area. I shot several photos before we left The Hermitage. Then, still in the pass, we stopped in an interesting area where I shot a 360° pano.

On the way out of the pass, as we were just a couple of kilometers from Lake Tekapo, we stopped for some more shots of this area (third time, now). This was the most dramatic view of the area yet—stunningly gorgeous with high cloud drama, lots of sunlight, and amazing cloud layers all reflecting in the lake’s bright, teal water. I’m eager to see how those shots turn out.

A short distance from there was the town of Twizel. Steve said some of The Hobbit was filmed there.

The landscape changed looks about 3 times en route to Queenstown—a distance of about 270 km. I shot numerous photos, but most were in the rain, which had returned later in the day. New Zealand is a very different looking landscape.

We arrived mid afternoon at our hotel, The Matakauri1, just outside of Queenstown. The views from the room are unparalleled. I have never stayed in a place with such breathtaking views. The room (actually, a villa, I suppose), which is even nicer than The George, has “views” from every room.

The Matakauri Room View: Cecil Peak
The Matakauri Room View: Cecil Peak

“Views” is such an understatement. I’m sitting here, writing, looking out at Lake Wakatipu. The whole front of the villa is glass. A steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, commissioned in 1912 (the same year as the Titanic and built by the same company), is sailing out in the large blue-green lake against the backdrop of a stunning snow-capped mountain range, The Remarkables, at 10 o’clock, and a different cloud-capped mountain range, Cecil Peak, across the bay at 1 o’clock. I feel as though I’m the only person here in massive, unspoiled, natural beauty. I’ve never experienced any accommodation this lovely.

The Remarkables
The Remarkables

The service here is also in a different place. We were met at the car before we ever stopped. We were asked to just leave the car key with them, and they would take care of everything. We were given a tour of the gorgeous property—no such thing here as “checking in” as they were expecting us. We were taken to our “room” and shown everything, including the lovely walk-in closet, which already had all of our bags.

I can’t write. I just stop and lose myself in the slow moving clouds along the mountain ranges just across the lake. The chef will be glad to fix anything we like for dinner. Any requests?

Am I alive, or is this heaven?


  1. The lodge is frequently rated as one of the top hotels in the world. I see why!