February 7, 2016
We left Dunedin in bright sunshine. It has been the same all day. It matters because of where we are in the mountains. We are staying in a Youth Hostel below a hanging glacier near Mt. Cook National Park. We are to the east of Mt. Cook and just over the crest of the mountain range are the Fox and Abel Tasman glaciers on the western side. We are as close as a very healthy crow flies but a couple of hard day’s drive. Kind of like being in Bishop and wanting to get to Fresno for some unknown reason.
Back to the latest hypothesis on the origin of the Moeraki Boulders. About an hour north of Dunedin lie a collection of weird boulders on the beach. They are perfectly round and contain grooves that look like stitching on a soccer ball. Most scientists conclude that they are concretions of mud and sealed with calcite. After watching our political leaders argue about the validity of science, I feel free to offer my own explanation why these massive beach balls are actually alien eggs. After all who has not seen the obvious reality of alien life forms offered up by our Hollywood elites. What better place to land future generations of aliens than a place as remote as the Otago Coast. Besides Peggy easily fit inside one of the eggs and everyone knows that the Roswell Aliens are 5’2″. Anyway, we left before any of them could hatch.
Our next stop up the road was to the Maori Rock Paintings at Takiroa. The sandstone bluffs provided the palette. Most of the works have been moved to museums for protection. There were a few examples left in situ. It was a nice stop with plenty of cliff swallows and flowers. The elaborate red piece reminded me of Viking stylistic elements.
At Twizel we were getting close to the mountains again. The shooting location for the big battle scenes in front of Minas Tireth and the Viking-like village of the Riders of the Rohim were both shot near here. We spotted no Orcs despite the reality that most residents of Twizel were enlisted as extras. We finally reached the glacial lake at the foot of Mt. Cook. The deep blue is characteristic of lakes from ice.
The sun is beating down as we reached our home for the night. We checked in and headed out to explore. We were directed to see the lake at the foot of Tasman Glacier. A short drive got us to the parking lot and we started to climb. My Fitbit says it was equal to 41 flights of stairs. It wasn’t too bad. I did feel bad for the two guys who carried a kayak up to the lake to find an impossible descent over boulders to the lake. It would have been neat to kayak amongst the icebergs. We settled for the view.
The views are outstanding compared to Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Maybe it is the sun. Probably it is the immediate proximity. We will probably take some more pictures as the shadows deepen when the sun starts to set.