Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Today was simply a long haul. From the east coast we headed far north. Before we turned west toward Mt. Cook, we decided we were due for a decent cup of coffee, since we’d be on the road for quite awhile. In our search for a café, we found… a cheese factory (which looked like it had a café). Finding ourselves desperate for caffeine (and loving the excuse) we said we’d go in just for a cup. An hour or so later, we found ourselves wooed by Whitestone Cheese. We decided to get a taster of six cheeses (for $5!). To our surprise we also were given three free tastings, one of which was indeed an impressive cheese. The Windsor Blue was Supreme Champion in 2006, it holds 10 trophies, 11 gold medals, and is New Zealand’s most decorated cheese! I LOVED it, Zoe on the other hand is not a fan of blue cheese, which turns out great for me.

After stuffing ourselves with yummy cheese and good coffee we continued the long drive west, up near the base of Mt. Cook.  Near the end of the drive we stopped in a town called Twizel for first dinner, and an assessment of the upcoming weather. The next few days did not look promising, and unfortunately, if we didn’t see Mt. Cook tonight, chances are we wouldn’t see her at all.

We arrived at our camp spot, perched above Lake Pukaki, which stretches 55 miles north to Mt. Cook. The view was amazing, emerald waters, a string of mountains lining the western side of the lake, leading up into thick clouds churning out snow onto their peaks. Mt. Cook unfortunately, was not visible, and would remain that way. But almost as impressive was the clear change in cloud formation towards its base. Simply by the density, position and movement of the clouds, you could interpret its presence.