We travelled up Highway 80 today (Tuesday) and we could not have been more fortunate, as the above photo shows. No rain, no clouds, no tourists. Perfect. Well, perfect for us, but we are still very aware of the major problems that many people and businesses are facing with international tourism shut off. But just for today, our selfish selves took over.
In fact, there are quite a few tourists around, most with Kiwi accents, and most of them looking well past retirement age… Some, like us, are using motels, some are in mobile caravans, and some incredible greybeards are on bikes. And the way they are pedalling, not many of the bikes are electric. In fact, I would not be surprised if there was a string of elderly heart attacks reported over the Crown Range in recent days.
But anyway, back to Aorangi / Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. We could see it from quite a distance and it just gradually got bigger and bigger as we approached.
Alongside the road for much of the way is Lake Pukaki, a lake hugely expanded in the 1950s from its original size to produce hydro electricity. It is the most incredible turquoise colour, the result of having so much glacial silt suspended in its waters. In the next photo, Mt Cook can be seen on the extreme left.
Then, just a few shots of other notable features along the road.
Absolutely stunning scenery, the best on our trip yet and unlikely to be equalled.
Finally, I leave you with the best shot of all, Aorangi / Mount Cook as seen through a glass of Trinity Hill Syrah (only the one each, mind, as we were driving) from the Hermitage Restaurant where we lunched.