Mt. Cook Morning; Biking Lake PukakiFebruary 23 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 54 °F
Clearing skies overnight gave us some glimpses of the starry southern sky before bed. This is a designated Dark Sky area. Temperatures in the high 30s F kept us from staying out too long. By morning, we got some nice first-light views of Mt. Cook.
Then it was on down the mountain by van to turquoise-blue Lake Pukaki. We weren’t finished with Mt. Cook yet, though—the lakeside views were amazing!
We met Jude, owner of “The Jollie Biker,” and were shuttled to the start of our ride on the Alps-to-Ocean (A2O) trail. The A2O is a multi-day ride from Mt. Cook out to Oamaru on the east coast—Pacific Ocean. In fact, to really start at the beginning, you need to go by helicopter. We had a short, but sweet, 8-mile ride on the gravel path, which follows the lake edge. Plenty of photo ops.
At the end of our ride, we set off on a long (~5-hour) drive to the town of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula, not far from Christchurch. The peninsula is a volcanic outcropping that appeared to be a separate island to Captain Cook when he was originally mapping New Zealand, so he never stopped there.
The Banks Peninsula was an important region to the Maori, for its abundance of foods of the forests, sea, rivers and skies. Part of the Maori name for the Peninsula translates to “The Storehouse.”
Once in Akaroa, we had a delicious final dinner as a group, enjoying local fish and lamb. Our two other tour members, Darcie and her mom, Leigh, have been great traveling companions.Read more