After walking for almost 20km to the foot of Mount Cook / Aoraki yesterday, we did nothing the rest of the day. Which meant that we still had one walk to do the following day: to the Tasman Lake. Although the weather was the opposite of the day before and the water was just gushing from the heavens, we put on our anti-rain coats and trousers and went up there anyways!
It was a good thing the walk was only about 30 minutes long, because at the end there wasn’t much to see thanks to the rain…
After that we decided to skip the walk and lunch along the lakeside, and made our way to our next destination: the Otago Peninsula, about 300 km south east of Twizel. It took us a little longer than the estimated 3,5 hours, because we decided to stop at another Lord of the Rings (LOTR) location and the infamous boulder beach.
Like I said before, scouting for LOTR locations is fun to do, but do not expect too much. Twizel is in fact the location for Gondor, the kingdom of Aragorn. After some online research we found the location. You can guess which picture is the real version and which one is from the movie:
I actually did not bother to make any pictures of what Twizel looks like (which says enough in itself), but suffice to say: there was no castle (or white wizard) to be found.
Our next stop was a coincidental find of Maori wall paintings. We got really excited when we saw the roadsigns, but I guess the fact that both our guides didn’t mention them should have been a warning. We got out and walked up to them, but almost half of them were removed (no idea why) and the remaining ones did unfortunately look a bit like poorly done child drawings.
Our final stop before our destination was however mentioned: Moeraki beach. The big sight here were there boulders, which in my humble opinion look like alien dinosaur eggs washed ashore.
I could try and explain to you what these boulders actually are, but I found a video that already does a pretty good job at it. We spend some time there walking between them, but after 15-20 minutes hit the road again to our final destination: the Otago Peninsula. Here we booked two nights at New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach castle. Unfortunately it had started raining again and you can imagine how happy it made me to find out that Larnach castle was situated on top of some mountains with a steep and curvy road leading there. Always nice to be doing so many hairpin turns with the abyss lurking at you from aside, especially in the rain, on the wrong side of the road. But sticking with the no worries theory: at least it wasn’t dark yet! And a little give away: New Zealanders do not do tunnels. Here at the South Island there are mountains everywhere and these people have obviously not heard of a little thing called tunnels which can be very handy to get from A to B when a mountain lies in the middle. Although, in this case it wouldn’t have made much difference, because the whole point of the castle was to be on the mountain of course. Anyways, we arrived safe, sound and dry at our new destination.