New Zealand 2011 trip, Day 26, Jan 28th: Arrowtown to Mt Cook Village

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12:45pm, Habebes , Queenstown

Up at 8:30am, to mostly cloudy skies. Quick shower, organized our gear, loaded the car, had tea and muffins for breakfast, and were out by 10am checkout. Parked outside of town, and walked down to find a key copy place. Mission successful, for $7. Also deposited $ into our Routeburn Relocator's bank account for our car shuttle.

We crossed paths with a couple people from the Rees Dart hike again at the lake front. Ate $10 lunch specials (bass) at Pog Mahones, using their internet to send a quick email. Walked to Habebes, our favorite kebab place, and split a chicken kebab with green bean, pumpkin, cabbage. Saw the CA hiker here from Rees Dart.

A small $10 tasty bass lunch special at Pog Mahones, followed by a chicken kebab at Habebes (after trying the chicken, we agreed lamb is the way to go).

7:08pm, Mt Cook YHA

Cloudy and rainy across most of NZ today, and we drove ourselves right into the thick of it at the base of NZ's highest peak, Mt Cook.

After lunch, I bought some cheap flip flops for $4, since my pair broke when I slipped on a steep wet slope outside of the hut on the 1st night of the Rees Dart track. Then we drove to the Lakefront YHA and canceled our booking after the Routeborn, since we'll stay in Te Anau 2 nights instead. There was a bit of a scare for a few minutes when their calendar had a mis-print, and it looked like I had allocated 1 too many days in our agenda for the week. Fortunately all is well.

We left town ~2pm after filling up the tank, and stopped at a Lavender farm in Arrowtown, ~10 minutes outside of Queenstown. Wendy is a major lavender fan. The small farm had a shop that was closed, but the owner soon came out and gave Wendy a personal tour of the place. She later bought some essential oils and a soap, and we walked through the purple, bee-filled, lavender field. Quite peaceful and scenic.

Wendy gets the scoop on how they farm lavender. A view from the farm...

Peaceful fields of lavender...

There were tons of bees out, but they were all friendly...

More bee action, photographed by Wendy...

I called up the Mt Cook DOC, to confirm tomorrow's good weather forecast, and to see if we needed to show up early to wait in line for a reservation at the Mueller Hut. Sounds like 8:30am at the opening is good enough.

The drive to Mt Cook was a retrace of our drive last Friday. Cloudy skies, but decent visibility the whole way, until we approached Mt Cook, which was socked in thick soup. Wendy slept through most of the 250km drive.

I had to stop at the "Roaring Meg", in honor of my sister. It was a little dam/waterfall thing...

This hostel (and every accommodation at Mt Cook) is pretty expensive, so instead of paying $100 for our own room, we signed up for 2 beds in a 6 bunk dorm. Kinda like staying in the huts, but with electricity, sheets, pillow, and a lot more comfort (and hot showers).

9:43pm, Mt Cook YSA

Still raining in Mt Cook Village. There were some brief clearings that revealed a massive glacier spanning the whole view out the window.

Made a dinner of eggs with tomatoes, scallions, cheese, and bacon, along with yams and a salad. Quite superb. The bacon was a hit.

The view from our hostel parking lot, looking south, away from Mt Cook...

Our lettuce sure looks fresh...

A look at our dinner, and dorm room at the Mt Cook Village Youth Hostel...

Wendy's stomach has been a little queasy today, and she's got a bit of a headache, but she's still been able to take in huge meals, so looks like nothing serious.

3 other guys in our dorm are planning on the Mueller hut tomorrow too. Wonder how crowded it will be. We plan to be at the DOC 8:15, to make sure we get a spot.

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