The road to Mt Cook

We left Christchurch for Mt Cook (also known as Aoraki) in beautiful weather with no idea of what the next 24 hrs would bring.

As we drove out of Christchurch we went through the pretty suburb of Papanui which was a bush area where the earliest settlers of the Canterbury District in which Christchurch is situated. The city has built up around the area and one of the main streets is Papanui Road which we used to start our trip to Mt Cook. Along the way we stopped to admire the little, old church and its cemetery and further along the road there was a most unusual design bridge. I love bridges and so notice those that are different in structure, in particular.

Info on PapanuiInformation on Papanui

Church and cemetery in PapanuiChurch and cemetery in Papanui

According to the notes received from the travel agent we were expecting to go via the scenic route across the Canterbury Plains via Geraldine to Lake Tekapo but after an hour or so we realised that the pre-set GPS was keeping us on the highway. Fortunately we had a paper map as well, being seniors we like these, and we worked out where to turn off the highway and into beautiful countryside. We drove slowly through Geraldine to find it a very pretty litttle town.

Old church now craft centreA little church we passed whih is now Craft Centre

By lunchtime it started to rain and when Lake Tekapo came into view it was covered in mist. This Lake is the highest in NZ and is the most beautiful aquamarine, even in the mist, being glacial in origin. We drove down a short road to the water’s edge where there was a small church and a bronze statue of a sheepdog which had been erected by the locals to indicate the importance of these dogs to their daily lives.

Lake TekepoOur first view of Lake Tekapo

Bronze statue of NZ collie sheepdogBronze statue of a sheep dog

The church, which is the Church of the Good Shepherd, was built of iconic stone and wood from the Lake Tekapo Bridge which was demolished. It was dedicated in 1935 and today is used for special occasions only. Although usually open to the public, the church is closed during inclement weather according to a sign at the gate and when we were there it definitely was inclement. We followed this side road around the Lake to the little village of Tekapo before rejoining the highway to continue our journey.

Church of the Good ShepherdThe Church of The Good Shepherd

Misty mountainsMist over the mountains at Lake Tekapo

Beside Lake TekapoView of the Lake from the town

The rain increased in intensity the further we went. We turned on to the road to Mt Cook and driving into the mountains we could see that a large amount of rain had fallen as water was pouring down the hillsides and gushing through the roadside gullleys. Visibility was very poor as well. We could only imagine the beauty of the area and regretted that we couldn’t see it in dry and clear weather. 

We arrived safely at our hotel but it was impossible to get from our car to the door of the hotel, a very short distance, without getting very wet. At the Reception we discovered that the gentleman on duty was from Durban so we had a few moments of reminiscing before checking in and settling into a very nice room. The staff had told us that the rain was due to stop overnight so we looked forward to a better day ahead.

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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