Greetings from the future!!!
No, really, it’s tomorrow here. I’m in gorgeous, sunny New Zealand, soaking up the unbelievable scenery, talking to awesome Kiwis (the people, not the bird), and hanging out with three cool friends. We’re here for the Feast of Tabernacles, but since we were coming so far (and spending so much money!) we wanted to cram as much awesome into our trip as possible. As always when I travel, I am also super excited about trying all kinds of local food and drink!
We spent our first few days in the Mackenzie region, after flying into Christchurch and then driving a few hours down to Lake Tekapo. When we arrived at our first rental house, we were utterly charmed, and visions of coffee and wine in front of the fire danced in our heads.
We immediately set out to explore, taking in the gorgeous turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo before heading into the village in search of sustenance.
We had decent pizzas and good local beer. Great, interesting beer is one of the things New Zealand seems to offer in abundance. This is a local oyster stout, and when I asked the waiter if it had oysters in it he said no, but then the internet told me otherwise. Oops… :S
I feel like I haven’t been properly warm since I got here. This whole region was so much colder than expected, I was not prepared!
We took a glacier lake boat tour and ate some 300-year-old ice. It tastes like regular ice, so you’re really not missing anything.
And then fueled up with delicious savoury pies. While I haven’t been able to get a handle on what’s truly unique to New Zealand cuisine, they definitely lean toward meat pies, delicious things wrapped in phyllo/filo dough, and all manner of scones. So basically my kind of place. This was a curry chicken pie, and we needed the fuel for what came next.
Once we were fueled up, we set out from the Hermitage Hotel in Mt. Cook Village onto the Hooker Valley Trail. It’s an absolutely stunning track that takes you up to a glacier and glacier lake at the end. All-in-all the hike takes about 3.5 hours or more depending on where you start and how fast you walk (and how many pictures you stop to take!). We took our time on the way there and took a million pictures, but booked it on the way back. There are swingbridges and rushing turquoise rivers and snow-capped mountain peaks.
There’s this view straight out of Lord of the Rings.
And this insanely green-colored water.
All leading up to this view of Hooker Valley Lake, with the Mueller Glacier. We brought some good ol’ Jim Beam with us and poured it over the 300-year-old glacier ice for a lovely lakeside cocktail.
The next morning we soaked in the hot springs pools with a gorgeous view to warm up and relax after the prior day’s crazy hiking. I think the boys are creeping in the background here.
Then got ready to hit the road back to Christchurch with a coffee and a view at Mt. John Observatory.
On to Nelson!