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Day 14 : Friday 18th March 2005

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More mountains, more driving!

We had originally intended to head West from Queenstown and drive over the Haast Pass and up the West coast. However, once we looked properly at the maps and recommended driving times, we realised that such a journey would simply be too much driving. To avoid our trip turning into a "dashboard tour", we decided to head up the middle of the island to take in Mt Cook National Park, stopping for the night in Lake Tekapo.

The day's driving was initially interrupted by two distractions, the first was a visit to the Kawarau Bungy Centre, which was the world's first commercial bungy site to open back in 1988. This is the typical bridge-over-a-canyon bungy that I'm sure most of us have seen pictures of. Our participation was limited to watching the nutters (including an elderly lady ) throwing themselves off the bridge into the canyon below!

The second distraction was equally unusual. We approached some roadworks going through a canyon and the road had been closed. There was some demolition going on and as this was a rockfall area, the road had to be closed. Luckily the delay was only 15 mins or so, but it didn't stop several people turning round and heading back the way they had come - I found this bizarre as there was no other sensible route one could take to the destinations on this road!

Once past all this work, and the resulting column of traffic it created, we drove through the picturesque Lindis Pass, before reaching the town of Omarama where we stopped for lunch at a roadside cafe.

The drive to Mt Cook NP takes you about 50kms up the side of Lake Pukaki. Luckily for us, Mt Cook was visible from the start and the views simply got better and better as we neared the small town of Mt Cook. Once there, we decided to head out on one of the walks, but only really completed half of it before tiredness and the relentless heat of the sun (at some altitude) made up our minds to return to the car.

We then headed back to the main road and found our way in short time to Lake Tekapo, which is the next lake on from Lake Pukaki, and bears a tiny town with the same name. It was not difficult finding our motel, as the town really only has one street, just set back from the main highway!

Dinner was at Pepe's, a local Italian themed restaurant. I had a lovely pepperoni pizza and this was accompanied by a couple of hearty beers (as usual)!


Kawarau Bungy, demolition and the Lindis Pass

Mount Cook