slivka.com > Trips > New Zealand 2002 > Tue Dec-31
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Tue Dec-31 Arthur's Pass -> Mount Cook, The Hermitage
What was estimated to be a 3.5 hour drive from Arthur's Pass to Mount Cook was actually 6.5 hours with a stop in Ashburton. Lisa, Max, and Lauren kayaked in the morning on Lake Pearson, and then we hit the road about 11am. We stopped in Ashburton to find a book store and a pharmacy, then picked up lunch and kept driving. We passed an ostrich (or emu?) farm on the way, as well as two 1930s era automobiles. Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki were beautiful in the bright sun, with that distinctive greenish tint we learned was caused by rock "flour" from glaciers when we visited Lake Louise this past summer.

We arrived at The Hermitage at Mount Cook at 5:30pm. Mount Cook, known as Aoraki to the Maori, is 3754 metres (12,316 feet) tall, and the tallest mountain in the southern hemisphere. The kids made there best attempt to take a nap, and we had a late dinner (9:30pm) at The Panorama restaurant, accompanied by a 1991 Esk Valley The Terraces from Hawke's Bay, which is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A quite nice wine, showing well, but still not the fruit one would expect from a Bordeaux or California bordeaux-blend. The food was actually one of the better meals we enjoyed in New Zealand (surprising since they have no competition nearby). Around midnight we strolled out to enjoy the stars and Ben took a few photos of constellations.

Rooms for 2 nights:
The Hermitage Hotel
Mount Cook
Ph: 64 3 435 1809
Fax: 64 3 435 1879
http://www.mount-cook.com/

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