More rain as we left Cromwell [Info spot: Named after Oliver Cromwell. Previously known as “The Junction”, “The Point” and “Kawarau”]…. oh well, can’t complain… it is winter! But some snow would be lovely… we do have chains and plenty of cold-weather coats.
Cromwell is “The Fruitbowl of the South” and has an interesting past. It was not only once a large gold-mining settlement but much of the old town was drowned to create a dam, now Lake Dunstan. Some of the old town has been preserved (now called “Old Cromwell Town”) and is well worth a visit and wander. So many historic sites around Cromwell that we didn’t have time to visit but they’ll be there for another time.
The rain eased as we followed Lake Dunstan (Clutha River) northwards. Another scenic drive though the Lindis Valley and Lindis Pass – New Zealand’s ever-changing terrain never fails to astound me no matter how many times I travel the roads!
A morning tea and “pie” break was called for at Omarama. Glider pilots love the air here, near the southern end of the Mackenzie Basin. The skies are usually clear and empty providing accommodating updrafts. We enjoyed a hot cup of coffee sitting under the verandah of an antiques shop, closed for the winter months, and reading many amusing and quaint sayings through the door of the shop and around us.
Onward and upward, after buying some of the best-ever fresh salmon at the salmon farm by Twizel – a “must-buy” whenever we are passing.
A left turn at Lake Pukaki and I’m looking for a glimpse of Aoraki/Mt Cook [Info spot: NZ’s highest mountain. Aoraki means “Cloud Piercer”]… oh, sad… it’s once again shrouded in cloud – the story of my visits! However, it is a lovely drive on an exceptionally well-maintained road (necessary for all the traffic, I guess!) Thank you to “Peter” who provided a wonderful viewpoint – as cold as it was!
It must be many years since I visited the tourist centre and Hermitage as I didn’t remember any of it – beautiful new(?) accommodation and restaurants; a well-stocked shop and the Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre. We agreed not to spend the time or money to wander through the centre – a pity is so expensive for NZers. But we did think a weekend stay at the hotel was within the realms of possibility in the future. It was so cold outside the doors that we didn’t even venture along one of the many trails we had hoped to wander on to catch awesome views of the famous peaks somewhere up yonder.
So back down the mountain road to Tekapo with thanks again to “Peter” at whose lookout we stopped for a sandwich – in the vehicle!
We were delighted to find that we had another brilliant lake view from our motel unit – and the unit was warm and welcoming, too. Rosemary, Steve and I braved the cold wind and icy air to stretch our legs with a wander around the shore to the Church of the Good Shepherd. Two of us called in to a very-touristy shop on our way back and had a browse in the warmth.
After another yummy tea, cooked by our resident chef Steve, we drove the short distance to the thermal pools for a delicious soak – definitely worth the chill running between the pools!