Road Trip - Picton - Kaikoura - Mt. Cook

Trip Start Jan 20, 2008
Trip End Mar 10, 2008

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Monday, February 4, 2008

So we got the ferry over on Monday morning from Wellington to Picton. It took us about 3 1/2 hours so we landed in Picton at lunchtime, after we picked up George - Mark II (the name we gave our car, because of all the frightfully English people we are meeting over here!) we headed to Kaikoura. Kaikoura is a lovely little fishing village which now has a lot of tourist attractions like whale watching and swimming with the dolphins! But all we went further south the rain and wind picked up and you would have sworn it was Ireland on a winter's day so we cheated a little bit and booked into a motel in Kaikoura that night. The weather was that bad that we couldn't have been able to put up the tent, never mind sleep in it! As the weather was so bad in Kaikoura, we couldn't do any of the tours so we headed on again the next morning, heading for Mt. Cook via Hanmer Springs!

The drive to Mt. Cook, which is the tallest mountain in NZ was amazing, the scenery was so beautiful and as we headed up into the Southern Alps, there were lakes as blue as the sky, I have never seen blue like that in nature before. We really felt  like this was the real New Zealand. The drive to Mt. Cook was long and it took us all day to get there but eventually we reached Mt. Cook village which is at the base of the mountain, and we headed out to camp at a DOC campsite called White Horse Hill, where shock horror girls, there was barely a toilet never mind a shower! The road out to the campsite, was the 2nd road in NZ that we were not supposed to drive on, so two down only one more to go! After pitching our tent and feeding ourselves, we headed off on a 3 hour round trip trek to the base of the mountain. Except we really didn't plan very well, with dusk approaching quickly and no torch or water with us, we could have ended up in real trouble, by the time we ended up back at camp it was practically dark, see the photos of us on the ropebridge!! But it was definitely worth it as we saw two avalanches, which were amazing and the sound they make echoing around the valley is unlike anything we have ever heard!!!Mt. Cook is fab, though it was a lot colder and we woke up freezing in our tent all night!

It's definitely one of the places to stay in New Zealand, it's hard to get to but worth it in the end.
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frank.k on

Rope bridges in the dark??
Now you know what the highest mountain in New Zealand is, what is teh highest mountain in Connacht. Looks like it was a fab trip. Now treking accross a rope bridge in the dark, well ????

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