Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Mountain! Mountain!

From Christchurch to Geraldine to Fairlie and on to lake Tekapo, where we stopped at the Church of the Good Shepherd. The water really is that blue and the view is stunning - the window behind the altar frames it beautifully. There's a regular tidal flow of trippers from the buses surging into the church and away. A short walk away is what can best be described as a memorial to the unknown sheepdog...

The next lake is Pukaki; again an unreal blue and with little wind we saw the alps relected brown and white across the blue. Mount Cook was clear; cloud kep drifting to the next mountain but never making it in front of the two peaks. You have to keep stopping to look at the lake and the mountains as the roasd curves round the lake and towards Mount Cook. At the base of the lake the ground turns slowly grey with streams snaking through it. The peaks all have at least a topping of snow: ice gleams on some of them and the glaciers tumble down in shudders and shelves of turquoise blue ice.

I was tempted by Twizel for the night for the chance to play a version of golf with clubs, oval balls and rugby posts but the guidebook says no-one has yet finished a game in under a day. We picked Omarama to stay because the Clay Cliffs winery cafe sounded nice (it was: delicious prawn crostini, whitebait on not so much fish mash as a mini fish pie, bacon wrapped pork on pumpkin mash, lamb rack with aubergine and a sweet tart tomato confit plus pinot blanc and pinot rose). As we reached the town limits we saw a sign 'Beware of stock'. This was timely as the next thing we saw was a flock of sheep all over the road. Freshly shorn yearlings bob and plunge with feisty energy but the shepherd stayed in his 4WD and the sheepdog did the work, including - at one point - dividing the flock in two and sending them around a car so it could drive away. I can see why they put up statues to them.

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