Mountains and buses stuck in the mud

Trip Start Jan 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 28, 2012

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Where I stayed
mt cook backpackers lodge

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Sunday, February 19, 2012

After our fun night out in Queenstown and eventually getting to bed at 3am we were back on the bus at 9am (with our new driver Motors) to begin our journey down to Mt Cook but after only 5 hours in bed we were asleep on the bus as soon as it set off! luckily we had seen quite a bit of the scenery going out of Queenstown so we didn't miss much.

We first headed out over the Lindis Pass and with its tussock covered hills links the Mackenzie basin with Central Otago. The Mt Cook region is often referred to as Mackenzie Country and is situated between the Southern Alps and Aoraki/Mt Cook.

We then went past Lake Pukaki which is a 30km lake with pale-blue waters. After we arrived and checked into our hostel we went for a short walk in the national park to see if we could get some good views of Mt Cook. Mt Cook at 3754 metres is the highest of the 23 mountains in New Zealand that are over 3000m.

This is how Aoraki Mt Cook came to be: The sky father (Raki) and earth mother (papa-tua-nuku) already had children by previous unions. After their marriage, some of the sky fathers children came to inspect their fathers new wife. Four brothers, Ao-raki, Raki-roa, Raki-rua and Raraki-roa circled around her in a canoe called Te Waka-a-Aoraki, but once they left her shores disaster befell them. Running aground on a reef the canoe was turned to stone. The 4 occupants climbed to the higher western side of the canoe where they too were transformed: Ao-rake became Aoraki Mt Cook and his 3 brothers became Mount Dampier, Mount Teichelmann and Mount Tasman. The summit was first reached in 1894 but because of the peaks sacredness to Maori, climbers are asked not to step on the summit itself.

The next day we were headed for Rangitata, from Mt Cook we headed out past Lake Tekapo which is New Zealands highest lake at 710m. Tekapo means night sleep place in Moari. The lake is a lovely turquoise colour this is due to the finely ground rock from the glaciers which is fed from the Southern Alps via rivers to the lake. On the shores of the lake are two iconic features - the dog statue which is dedicated to the working collie dogs of the Mackenzie country and the Church of the Good Shepherd which was built in 1935.

After dropping off some people to go white water rafting in Geraldine we went to the supermarket to pick up some food for a picnic lunch in Peel Forest. Mount Peel's maori name is Tarahaoa and is still sacred to the local tribe, Ngai Tahu.

As we pulled up in the bus we drove onto the grassy area so we could sit on the benches to have lunch but little did we know that it had been raining lots and the ground was really soggy so unfortunately the bus got a bit stuck in the mud! So after trying to push the bus out which was obviously not going to work we waited for about 2 hours for the guy from the hostel to come with his bus and pull us out - luckily the weather was lovely so we all sat in the sun!!!

When we eventually got to the hostel (when we got into our room we found bunk beds that were 3 beds high - luckily i had a middle one so didn't have too much trouble getting up to it!!!) and checked in they provided us with tea and coffee and we had a relaxing afternoon then after our tea they gave us chocolate sponge cake! yum yum!
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