I’ve long thought that one of my favourite, if not overall favourite, drives that I’ve ever done is the hour long journey from Calgary to Banff. You start in the rolling foothills outside Calgary with snowy mountain peaks in the distance, and within an hour’s time you have travelled in through mountain passes to stand amongst towering peaks of tree and snow. It’s a wonderful, scenic drive. I think I may have found it’s equal, in the drive from Lake Tekapo to Mt. Cook.
Lake Tekapo itself is very scenic. It’s most notable for two things that you can get in the same picture – it has a historic church, which rests on a rise above the shores of Lake Tekapo, which itself is startling in colour and scenery.
The Church of the Good Shepard was built in 1935, and is probably one of the most photographed man-made items in New Zealand. It’s featured in many, many calendars and photographs.
Lake Tekapo itself is splendid, with it’s milky neon blue water and surrounding hills and peaks.
From there, it’s a drive to another lake…one that at first glace might look like Lake Tekapo, but it’s not. This is Lake Pukaki, and in the distance you can start making out towering mountains on the left hand side. Snow-capped mountains.
Another 30 minutes of driving brings you into Mt. Cook National Park, and right to the face of Mt. Sefton.
Being glacial valleys, the surroundings are just stellar, even if the weather wasn’t.
I spent much of the afternoon here, at the Hermitage, a very nice hotel/cafe/museum. The cafe provided shelter from the heavy rain, sleet, hail and snow that arrived when I did. I camped that night in my car at a lovely campground, but awoke to frost on the car – I didn’t sleep well in those cold temperatures.
The next day, the weather was markedly different. But that is for another post.