Hey again this time from Dunedin.
Well we finally got the car sorted at a cost of 100 bucks each... ouch! Hey at least it is sorted now, hopefully fingers crossed we'll have no more problems with the car.
Well we ended up having to stay in ChCh for another two days to wait for the car to be sorted and to get the post so we could pick up our insurance doc's for the car. Yeah it was nice but this was the third time that we have seen the darn place now that it got a little boring.
When we did finally make it back on the road we headed south/ west-ish straight away. There is a Lord of the Rings site about 2 hours outside of ChCh that I wanted to see + there was Mt Sommers that I wanted to climb. The LOR site was absolutely amazing, It was so strange right out of the movie (Eldoras), as if we were on set. The road there was also quite amazing, gravel track in the middle of nowhere! Steve was driving so I could get a look at the views. As we were going along at around 60 K's a ford just appeared out of nothing and I tell ya hitting a dry ford at 60 K's is NOT good for the car. Think all four wheels off the ground and SMASH! luckily we have a plate under the car to protect the engine but we did manage to rip the incense plate cover off and put some huge dents in the exhaust down pipes!
The first night was spent on the shores of Lake Clearwater with the most amazing views across a huge valley. As we were so far from any street lighting the stars were pretty spectacular. As we wanted to climb Mt Sommers the next morning we rose fairly early to give us enough time to tackle the climb. Unfortunately once we got there we soon realized that the climb was a little out of our league as it took 2 days to make it too the top! Instead we did a smaller walk up to a tramping hut through some old coal mines which took us around 4 hours and of course it rained. We were absolutely soaked by the time we made it back to the car! Miserable, but fun none the less.
Next stop was Mt Cook/ Aoraki via the best fish and chips that I have had in NZ. Kerry one of the ladies that we worked with told us about this Fish and Chip joint in Geraldine that was on the way to Mt Cook. As she had told us about it we thought it'd be a shame not to stop and sample some good old fish and chips.
On the way to Mt Cook we stopped off at Lake Pukaiki, a large glacial lake formed during the last ice age in NZ. Due to glacial sediment (rock flour) in the water the lake has a brilliant blue/ turquoise colour as the sun light hits it. Its indescribable, very similar if not the same colour as Lake Banff in Canada. Mt Cook itself was rather disappointing as we couldn't actually see the thing! The whole two days that we were there all of the surrounding mountains were completely shrouded in cloud. We did do some of the smaller walks in the vicinity up to the Tasman glacier and the Hooker glacer, but again you couldn't actually see that much. bummer. The night that we did spend there though was bloody freezing, I have never been so cold on the whole of this trip, I didn't sleep much as I was that cold!
Next stop, Pioneer Park, just outside of Fairley. Really nice place in the middle of a forest. We only stayed the one night as we wanted to get on the way to Lake Ohau another 100 k's or so down the road. Next stop was Temple Basin just west of Lake Ohau, we liked it so much in this place that we ended up staying 2 and a bit days here. The campsite was free and it had a shelter with a log fire and a supply of dry fire wood. The first night there we met a young Israeli couple and spent the whoel night talking to them. The next day Steve and I thought it would be a good idea to climb the peak next to the campsite. It was an awesome climb through old beech forest and fields of heather and gorse. The climb was pretty tough as there was no defined path, up through rocky gully's using all four limbs in the howling wind, fun none the less. The view from the top was just amazing across the wide valley floor surrounded by snow peaked tops! The way down though was even better as we stumbled across a huge scree field which mean that we could effectively run down the mountain! The second night was also spent up talking to the Israelis and as they told us that they're walk was so good, Steve and I decided that it would be a shame not to do it ourselves the next day. Imagine walking through an ancient beech forest in a a steep sided valley with snow peaked tops either side. Amazing. Rather disturbingly though there was a sign at the start of the track warning of avalanche paths that crossed the track!
The next day we thought it about time that we made our way to Dunedin for some much needed sleep in a bed as it had been six days of camping. We didnm't make it all the way unfortunately as we stopped off on the way in Omaru on the east coast to see some of the best Victorian buildings in NZ. As such we stayed a night in a small campsite just 50 or so K's north of Dunedin. The next day was spent pretty much on the road to Dunedin only to stop off at the Moeraki Boulders (Huge spherical boulders just placed on the beach, weird).
Dunedin itself is a really nice city, It's said to be the Scottish city of NZ and I can see why. They roll their R's here and there is even a statue of Robert Burns! Steve and I did find a pub though that sold ALES, OH MY GOD an ALE! London Pride, ESB, Fullers Porter, Old Speckled Hen, Green King IPA and Abbot Ale. It was horrifically expensive though but well worth it. The beer was way way to cold but they put them in the microwave for us to heat them to the normal 'English' standard, something they said they did for the locals. The things we'll do for a pint!
Well tomorrow is going to be spent seeing the sites that Dunedin has to offer along with the obligatory Speights Ale Tour!
Adios till next time.