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Day 18 and 19 - Mount Cook, an Argo, and a Glacier

NEW ZEALAND | Tuesday, 16 November 2010 | Views [659] | Comments [3]

We are facing up the glacier valley, the silted end of the glacier on our right, two lakes behind us

We are facing up the glacier valley, the silted end of the glacier on our right, two lakes behind us

On the way to Mount Cook, we began to see spectacular views of the New Zealand alpine areas, which were used as the scenery for Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings trilogy movies.  We drove several miles up a dirt road into a gorgeous river valley (not another human being in sight) and saw the small hill that became the setting for the city fort of Edoras.  This is a good writeup about building the set http://www.queenstown.net.nz/index.php?title=Edoras   We also started to see large deer farms—big pastures with eight-foot tall fences, full of red deer/elk mixes.  A small amount of the venison is consumed in New Zealand, but the majority is shipped to Japan and Europe.  We also continue to see lots of sheep, although we are told not as many as there used to be.  Australia remains pre-eminent in the wool industry, beating out both New Zealand and the British Isles.  We also drove across a one-lane bridge built in 1868—from the side it looks like a high school student’s science project with toothpicks, touching only the sides of the gorge.  It was one of those “I’ll put my faith in the good judgment of a modern country’s highway department” moments and we drove across as rapidly as the narrow carriageway would allow.  After driving past a couple of big azure mountain lakes, we arrived our hotel, about 14 kilometers away from Mount Cook’s peak.  Again, the views are stunning of the surrounding mountains.  The hotel is actually near the end of the glacier (currently receding – global warming:) which extends down from Mount Cook.  We took a tour in an Argo (8-wheel drive moon buggy-looking thing that carries a driver and six pax) further up the valley and saw the end of the glacier itself, splitting small icebergs off into a lake.  After lunch, we took a short hike, but decided that the spitting rain and wind just weren’t any fun (the walk ended when Anita was posing for a photo on a swing bridge and claims to have almost been blown off), so we decided to write this blog, read our books, and shortly repair to the bar to see what they have for us.  Anita drove a right-hand drive vehicle for the fist time today.  The only other time she drove on the left side of the road was once in Ireland, in our Dodge Caravan, after I’d had one Guiness too many at a pub.

 

Comments

1

Aren't those glacial out-wash areas startling? Looks like an entire army of heavy earth-moving equipment was on site...yesterday! Any logging in the alpine areas ala Scotland? Why don't you bring one of those Argo vehicles to Fish Lake? Think of the games we could invent!

  Dr Till J Nov 22, 2010 1:16 PM

2

Yup, clear cut timbering and replanting all over the place...of imported Monterey pine.

  Vinnie Nov 22, 2010 4:10 PM

3

Thanks for sharing your NZ experiences! I am planing to visit to Mt. Cook and take this Argo ride over this month end. Is it worth? Do they really take you out to see great scenery?

Thanks.

  BK Dec 5, 2010 10:28 PM

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