Headed out of Queenstown
along SH6 towards Cromwell
, taking a different route north than the one we came down on. Passed lots of wineries on the way out and decided which ones we'd stop at on our return tomorrow. Stopped at a fruit stall in Cromwell and bought some "coconut ice" peaches - absolutely delicious, on Noel's list of fruit trees next time we have a garden! There are lots of orchards in this area so plenty of roadside stalls to choose cheap fruit and veg from. Then drove through the Lindis Valley over Lindis Pass towards Aoraki Mount Cook
. There's a plaque at the top of the Lindis Pass commemorating the arrival of the first of the famous Otago Red Deer, gifted from a Duke in Scotland - he sent them out by ship, then put them on a steamer and finally on the bullock wagon to get them to this area, then released the poor little sods! Must have been quite a journey for them! The road up to Mount Cook travels along the shores of Lake Pukaki
and the scenery the whole way is stunning, one incredible photo opportunity after another.
Salmon chasing the food we threw in at Mount Cook Salmon Farm.
The weather has been superb so we got fantastic views of the mountains and glaciers without any cloud cover. We drove to the township itself for a picnic lunch and a wander around. Lots of accommodation but we imagine it gets very busy during the ski season. On our way to Lake Tekapo
, we stopped at Mount Cook Salmon Ltd, a private company that is salmon farming in one of the hydro electric canals. Hence the fish are very healthy and strong from swimming against the current in their tanks. Lake Tekapo itself is a smallish town but has lots of motels and views of the lake from every direction (almost). We had a cabin overlooking the water so could sit on the verandah and watch the sunset - very nice. In the evening we did a tour of the Mt John Observatory - we saw heaps of shooting stars, the first one had an incredibly bright tail for a good few seconds, plus meteors and satellites.
View over Lake Tekapo from the verandah of our cabin, as the sun was setting.
We got to look through the 16inch telescope at various galaxies and stars and had a great view of Saturn - from a novice's point of view, it just looked like someone had got a picture of the stars and drawn in Saturn with a white-out pen, quite strange to see really, but exciting too.