Day 2. To Mt. Cook
Driving time around 4 hours for the 311 km or 193 mile trip
Leaving Christchurch is easy, just follow the directions, though once you burst out into the country side you'll realise what an amazing voyage of discovery this is going to be. Keep your eyes on the road, keep left and adhere to 100 km an hour and other speed limits, as our cops can pop up in the strangest places. Take photo stops if you want, though pull well off the road and when driving don't let the traffic build up behind you, just let them pass. After all the scenery is jaw droppingly distracting. Flat farmlands running away to foothills and higher mountains to the west, some of which carry permanent snow. Rural towns Geraldine and Fairlie, which has a brilliant pie shop, give way to the Mackenzie Country and Lake Tekapo village.
The Church of the Good Shepherd is a popular pic and the story of sheep rustler James Mackenzie, is an intriguing local tale. From here it's about 70 mins to Mt Cook at just over 100 kms away. You're here for a couple of nights at the Aoraki / Mt. Cook Lodge, built to maximise to splendid views of the area and close to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine centre. In 1953 New Zealander Hillary, along with Tenzing Sherpa Norgay, was the first to scale Mt Everest. The centre is a must visit, as is the Mountaineer's cafe, owned by local mountain guides, Mary and Charlie Hobbs. You might want to book a helicopter flight, or a bi plane trip from nearby Pukaki airport near Twizel with Chris Rudge, just to really top things off!