From Hamner Springs we cruised down the East coast to Christchurch. It was a funny place as it resembled an idilic small English town. We strolled around the centre after fraying tempers trying to park the camper van, visited the Botanic Garden, walked past the new art gallery (saving the inside for when the Edgars arrive) and managed a much needed hair cut.As there was not much else to hold our interest we continued down to Fairlie.This was to be our base to explore Mount Cook and the surrounding area.
Fairlie was a very small town on the edge of Mackenzie country.We found out the area was named after an infamous Scottish sheep rustler James Mackenzie famous for steeling over 1,000 sheep in one night with only his dog Friday to help. We visited the local bottle store which was in the hotel bar, very similar to the Nith hotel bar in Glencaple.
After an early start we headed further inland to Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd.The scenery was unbelievable.So good in fact the same scene had been painted on the side of our van.We got a few looks as we reversed the van into position for the comedy photo. After Lake Tekapo we passed Lake Pukaki and our first view of Aoraki (Maori for cloud piercer) Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand.
We drove right into Mount Cook village and walked the Hooker Valley trail to the foot of the impressive mountain and the end of the Hooker Glacier.An impressive sight with the sharp peak still snow covered in the middle of summer but too dangerous for us to climb. We heard on the radio as we left Mount Cook that Sir Edmund Hillary died.The first man to conquer Everest he is a massive New Zealand hero and is in fact on the $5 note. Apparently Mount Cook was his training ground and all flags were out to half mast.
As we headed further south to Dunedin we past the fascinating Moeraki boulders.These are perfectly sphere like rocks that appear where the water meets the sandy beach.They are formed by some geological activity we did not understand but they certainly made great backdrops for photos.
We finally reached Dunedin, after some great fish and chips and found it too be a home away from home.There is a huge Scottish ancestral link and all the street names are named after Edinburgh streets.Even the architecture is similar with the statue of Robert Burns and the town hall looks exactly like the Balmoral hotel.
We visited a fantastic farmers marked, went out to the Otago Peninsula and walked to Lovers leap, saw the only land colony of King Albatross up close and took in the spectacular coast line at tunnel beach.Water was freeeeeezing.From Dunedin we decided to head no further south and go straight to Milford Sound.