We had a great three day trip leading up to our final destination of Mount Cook – New Zealand’s highest mountain.The first day we drove about 3 hours from Te Anau to the small town of Clyde. This was as a last minute decision to leave Te Anau a day early due to our discomfort in the home we were staying. We were very lucky to find another home on Airbnb at the last minute in a small historic gold mining town called Clyde. I meant to offer this in my last blog, but if anyone wants to try out Airbnb I have a coupon code which will give you $26 to use. The code is AANN103. I recommend downloading the App for your phone, but they have a great website as well www.airbnb.com. Anyways, we were very lucky this home owner got back to me shortly via the messaging feature on the App and accepted our stay. We decided to drive the longer way on this journey, mainly to avoid the crazy mountain roads near Queenstown that we experienced on our way in. Instead of getting an easier drive, we ended up driving up and down mountains through farm country for 3 hours. Not exactly relaxing, but as with all NZ scenery, it was breathtaking.
We arrived in Clyde in the early evening, and met Anne, out hostess. She was such a lovely Kiwi, so welcoming and kind. She recommended we have dinner at the historic Post Office restaurant, which we did. It was nice to step back in time and enjoy a nice meal – something we have been deprived off due to the expense of eating out in NZ. The entire town of Clyde is frozen in time in the 1860’s. It was near here that gold was first discovered, and the first gold rush in NZ took place. You can see in the photos that Clyde remains historic and it was so nice to wander around taking these photos. While we were at Anne’s we were able to do laundry, and she took the opportunity to treat us to a good amount of wine after we got home from dinner. We sat on her porch and chatted, having a great time.
The next morning we headed out to our next accommodation in Twizel. There is very limited accommodation available in this area, so we were very lucky to get the last spot at a holiday park, where we would be staying in a cabin. As you can see it was tiny, but cozy. After checking in, we headed another hour up the road to Lake Tekapo, where we treated ourselves to some much needed relaxation at Tekapo Springs. This is an outdoor hot springs, where there were 5 different pools of water ranging from 29-39 degrees. It was so nice to relax our tired driving muscles for a few hours.
The next morning we headed out to visit Mount Cook – the reason we had come to this area. Mount Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain, and many have tried to climb it. Unfortunately, there are many who have failed in this attempt, and there are multiple memorial books in the visitor center dedicated to these climbers telling their stories. We read about a hike that would take us close to the mountain, so we decided to head out on this hike. It would take about 3 hours return. It was quite a journey, over some very scary swing bridges. I swear I thought we were going to die. Not only was it a super windy day, but there were lots of people walking. The bridge would sway back and forth, and I could hardly keep my balance. It was a really stressful experience! The hike was worth it though for the scenery we got to see near the end.
After this hike we decided to take another road, which led us to the other side of the mountain, where we hiked up a massive hill, which took about 15 minutes of walking straight up. The views that awaited us when we reached the top made the climb worth it. We got to see the mountain, and what was left of the glaciers, which isn’t much. It is sad really, but there are only small icebergs that remain. The journey downhill was much nicer!
We headed back to our tiny cabin to rest for the remainder of the evening. We really enjoyed these few days, and we were now down to our last few days in New Zealand!