Land of the Long White Cloud,
August, 2002


18th April, 2002
19th April, 2002

Thursday 18th April, 2002

Olveston brochure

Brochure, Olveston House, Dunedin NZ

Drop Cap leisurely start today, after not a very comfortable night. After breakfast we went off to view Olverston House, a manorial pile in the Jacobean style, built by an early entrepreneur after he made very good in the Antipodes. It was full of the most eclectic treasures from all lands and all cultures. Some lovely stuff. We were taken by a guide, Joan, who was very knowledgeable and voluble, telling us tales of the family, vouched for by her own mother, who lived in Dunedin at the same time as the family. She was good, and the tour took an hour, but Mac and I would like to have had longer.

Moeraki Boulder photograph

One of the Boulders on Moeraki Beach

Drop Cap fter picking up the rest of the group at the hotel and at the Octagon, a sort of city centre, we headed off to the coast. We stopped for lunch at a beach which held the Moeraki Rocks, a geological oddity. Most rocks are shaped by the ocean but these are apparently grown from a core of lime crystals which attract calcite around them and gradually get bigger. A couple which had split had been repaired by more calcite and looked like very large soccer balls.

Moeraki Boulder photograph

Mac with Moeraki Boulder

Drop Cap hey looked quite weird. Two large rocks were irreparably split open and looked like the eggs some alien life form had hatched from and slithered off to devastate the nearest town in Dr Who or The Tomorrow People. Something cheap from the BBC.

Lake Benmore photograph

Lake Benmore

Drop Cap fter this we drove on through some (more) stunning scenery, created by the Hydro-Electric people, mainly. Several dams, in particular Aviemore and Benmore have been created on the Waikiti River to generate hydro-electricity and they really are gorgeous. The river is glacial, so the lakes are like Canada's, turquoise blue, an unbelievable colour. The scene, with these blue lakes, and the golden autumn leaves of the poplars and willows, is just lovely.

Lake Pukapi photograph

Mount Cook at the end (50 ks) of Lake Pukapi

Drop Cap e drove on to our hotel in Twizel in the High Mackenzie Country and decided, as the earlier rain had cleared to a perfectly clear sky, to proceed up the road for a look at Mount Cook, the highest mountain in Australasia, over 12,000 feet. It was a wonderful sight, snowcapped at the end of a lovely lake.

Tour Crew photograph

Guide Lyn and Driver Mike at Lake Pukapi

Drop Cap t seems to have clouded over now, so maybe it won't be visible at all tomorrow. Its Maori name is Aoraki, which means "Cloud Piercer", which is self explanatory. It is really good we got to see it this evening. Tomorrow is our last day. It has gone so fast.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Friday 19th April, 2002

Mount Cook photograph

Mount Sefton and Mount Cook

Drop Cap ur last day dawned clear, cool and bright. Several of our group decided to have heli or fixed wing flights over the mountain glaciers so our first stop after breakfast was at Glentanner at the airport (strip, whatever), while the rest of us went on to hugely scenic Mt.Cook village for morning tea at the Hermitage Hotel. This looked out on a stunning vista of glaciers on Mt. Sefton and Mt. Cook. I really felt the lift of the spirit I always feel when looking at high places. Especially with snow, magic!

Church photograph

Church of the Good Shepherd

Drop Cap fter an hour, during which we used the most unique washroom I have ever seen - no basins, just a marble slab, slightly tilted, that ran the water down the back to the drain - we went off again to view the tiny stone Church of the Good Shepherd.

Altar Window photograph

Altar Window onto Lake Pukapi, Church of the Good Shepherd

Drop Cap his is set on the shore of Lake Pukapi in an idyllic spot. The altar is under a large clear window with a wonderful view over the turquoise glacial lake. No need for stained glass, it was lovely.

Sheepdog Monument photograph

Sheepdog Monument

Drop Cap few metres away is a very appealing statue, a bronze border collie, which commemorates the debt owed by the sheep farmers to the dogs that helped them so much. It reminded me of "Footrot Flats".

Mount Cook photograph

Mount Cook, NZ

Drop Cap hen it was away to pick up the flyers and on through the lovely but stark High Country, which was clouding over after our lovely morning. By Geraldine on the Canterbury Plains it was raining. We had lunch and looked at lots of tempting craft shops but I gave my last $1 coin to a lady who was selling poppies for the Returned Soldiers and Widows Fund in anticipation of Anzac Day next week.

Drop Cap e were all in a rather blue mood as we approached Christchurch again. It was all over. Our transfer is coming for us at 0350 tomorrow for our flight home at 0550. We will be home by about 0900. Hopefully.

Drop Cap ur opinion of this tour is very favourable. Of course the good weather meant we did not have to compromise on sight seeing even if we didn't get all the train journeys we were promised. Not much they could do about it. Only having 28 people made it very easy to get on with them and everyone was co-operative. Made a nice change with tours. The meals provided were generally good and we had a really good time.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Orange left arrow Back to Previous Page