After a ‘rest’ day, quo vadis, yesterday we planned a much longer trip to progress down the South Island today. Having listened to the large and vocal harmonica-playing Australian manager of the restaurant last night: ‘ Mount Cook? Don’t bother….it’s an hour up the road and the views are much better at the base of the lake…..’ we decided to ignore him and head to what we knew would be an inaccessible tranquil and beautiful site. 

First stop though was Geraldine. Geraldine, South Island, population 2325, had its fete today. A Thursday in November seemed an odd choice but it was hugely popular. Superficially similar to English events there were  however some significant differences: 

It’s a while since we’ve needed a dead possum tanning although my father used to regularly threaten to tan our hides. Or mine at least. I guess my siblings had the same threat…..?

A variation on the usual fete burger and chips…..

$4 is about £2.20. 

The fete was on the land of a farmer on the plains in front of the Mount Cook range. He seems reasonably successful. The gardens were beautiful. Here are pictures of the house then looking to the left, the right, and straight on with your back to the house:

To the left:

To the right:

And straight on:

See the snow capped mountains in the distance? 

We got closer:

This is Lake Tekapo, fed by the melting snow from the Mount Cook range. It’s colour is due to the fine particles of powdered rock held in suspension in the glacial meltwaters. 

Mount Cook. It forms part of a national park in combination with others forms a world heritage area extending down a large part of South Island. More than one third of the park is in permanent snow and glacial ice. Of the 27 nz mountains over 3050m, 22 are in this park including Mount Cook at 3755m  – the  highest peak In Australasia.  Which explains why the campsite is pretty full despite being out of season and no facilities. It’s one of the most expensive we’ve stayed at since Christchurch but at $13 perhead (less than£7) we can’t complain, bearing  in mind the majesty of our surroundings. 

And how does one eat, at the end of this gravel track, by the highest peak of australasia? Well. Thanks to the fete selling hazelnut, red pepper and pomegranate pesto, and organic fresh asparagus, and us having a few frozen king prawns to fry in butter and black pepper. All in a small galley but with a bottle of good nz white….it’s been a pleasure. 

3 thoughts on “Rakaia Gorge to Mount Cook.    

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