June 27, 2008

The long drive to Aoraki/Mount Cook

It was another long drive from Te Anau to Aoraki/Mt Cook. We retraced our journey to Queenstown and caught sight of the Kingston Flyer, the vintage steam train that used to ply the route to Queenstown, at the small town of Kingston.

We also made pit stops for photos for breathtaking views at the edge of Lake Wakatipu and the spectacular Remarkables Ranges. The movie sequence showing a depleted and demoralized Fellowship fleeing from their ordeal in the terrifying Mines of Moria without Gandalf, with Aragorn leading them down the steep slopes of the Dimrill Dale towards Lothlorien was filmed high in the Remarkables Ranges.

We stopped by a fruit farm near Lake Dunstan and bought 20kg of crunchy, sweet New Zealand apples to take home, with a few extra to munch on the journey.
Can't resist another shot of the Kawarau River on one of the many scenic stops

Apples galore near Lake Dunstan

We took a short ten minutes detour near the small farming village of Tarras to the Great East Road. Stretching through pine forests, the Flight of the Ford was filmed here with Arwen riding with Frodo as they flee the Nazgul.

We continued into the beautiful Lindis Pass – winding road amidst beautiful mountain scenery.

The beautiful Lindis Pass. I took this photo while driving, with hubby and mum happily snoring away in the car. See how deserted the road is...this is quite typical of NZ roads.

Further on, the road to Mt Cook hugs the edge of Lake Pukaki. The exquisite opaque turquoise colour of this lake and others in the area is caused by fine, glacier-ground rock particles. The ‘rock flour’ is suspended in the water and when combined with sunlight, creates the unique water colour.

Lake Pukaki, with Mount Cook in the background

The landscape gradually changed into a mixture of high country tussock, farmland and snow-capped mountains. We stumbled upon a sheep farmer moving his herd of hundreds of sheeps across the road, assisted by several sheep dogs. Mum and I were extremely excited at this unusual, at least for us, spectacle.

After the pleasant encounter, Aoraki/Mt Cook was just minutes away.


Anonymous said...

Oh my God - that's the steam engine of Lucas' dreams! It's still running? I tell you...my little fella would just scream with excitement if he sees it!

Unknown said...

And I have to say again, OMG, the steam engine?!!! That is so awesome and good thing you managed to captured them in time.

A Mom's Diary said...

Kittycat & Jessie, I guessed we were lucky to pass by Kingston at the right time.