Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Day That Went As Planned

Shortly after Angela and I had our little mudding cruise, we went to the airport to pick up the one and only Emily Stuart! Unfortunately, Emily's suitcase did not accompany her on her flight to Queenstown. (And didn't actually find her until 3 more days into her trip.... long story).  So after making some elaborate arrangements with the baggage claims department at the Queenstown airport, which involved post-it notes - which Emily did comment at the time as being a bit informal and non-reassuring [and was right!], we were off to the Mount Cook area. Some of you may remember that the Mount Cook area is always good for some unpredictable events, and this trip was no exception.  This post is dedicated to the day that went according to plan. We arrived there the evening after Emily's arrival. The following day, we had good weather and got to enjoy some of the great things this area has to offer. The next day was the exact opposite of that... we'll get to that later.

As for now, sit back and relax as I relay the hot springs, snow tubing, and stellar lake views we got to take in.

Much to our delight, we woke up to a beautiful day.
This was our hotel in Mount Cook Village:

Welcome to NZ, Em!
Since Em's hiking clothes were in her luggage, we opted to go check out the snow-tubing and hot springs place at Lake Tekapo! That involved a little bit of a roadtrip, which was fine on a nice sunny day.
Emily even felt brave enough to try driving here (left side of road, right side of car...), and the traffic-less roads in this area seemed like a good place to try it out:
Off we go!
This is how I feel inside the entire time someone is driving here for the first few times. I subtly clench the side of my seat as we make our way down the road.
And as fate would have it, the first vehicle Emily met happened to be an enormous bus, which created a certain level of panic, yelling, and laughter from our car.
But Emily's proper 10:00 and 2:00 technique and my background chanting of 'stay on the left, stay on the left' worked perfectly and we successfully breezed right by that bus and made our way to the end of Lake Pukaki for a quick photo stop before heading on the rest of the way to Lake Tekapo.

First order of business: Snow Tubing!!!
The arena!

Almost up!!!

You can go tandem or in other multiples if you get the proper ratio of hard vs soft bottomed tubes. And the guides up top will spin you if you ask. Some of them were better at this than others. You can also do a running take-off if you prefer. Allow me to demonstrate:

Or here's an example of a combination, spinning run with all three of us together:

So fun!!

We were supposed to get 1.5 hours out there, but they weren't busy at all, so they let us stay for much longer! Lucky for us, the stern employee (he may have been Russian) rotated away shortly after we got there and a couple of fun English dudes were posted out there, happily spinning everyone and letting us tube to our hearts' content.

When we finally had our fill, it was time to head down the hill to the hot pools where we could just soak the afternoon away and warm up.

Pretty inviting, eh?

Three different pools at different temperatures. 

yes, please.

and this is the view from the pools, by the way:

After we were thoroughly water-logged, it was time to go check out the lakefront and grab some food.

Picturesque church.

and who doesn't love a good jumping picture?

"It could fit....."


And that was the day that went as planned! (aside from still not getting Em's luggage, even though we were promised it would have been there) Unfortunately our luck didn't hold, and we had to move to plans B, C, D, and E in the following days. More on that soon!

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