After a night of torrential downpours and howling winds, we awoke to blue sky’s and sunshine after our night at the base of Mt Cook.
The journey back towards twizel and onwards to Cromwell was a pleasant one, as we had lake Pukaki on our left hand side, glowing a brilliant blue in the sunshine. We stopped at peters lookout and took a short walk down towards the lake, skimming stones in the ice cold glacier water and paddling our feet.
We continued past twizel, and stopped at a salmon farm to feed the salmon. We then headed towards a town called Cromwell. Cromwell is a fruit town, and just beyond there is gibbston, home to hundreds on vineyards. Unfortunately we didn’t stop for any wine tasting, and only visited Cromwell briefly to restock on supplies and use some shower facilities. That evening we stayed among the vineyards at a campsite called ‘Rum Curries Hut’. It had a cute little hut, made from stones which campers were using to shelter from the strong winds whilst cooking their evening meals.
The following morning we drove to Clyde, an old gold town and now home to the Clyde dam, the third biggest hydroelectric dam in New Zealand. The town felt like a throwback to times gone by, with a disused railway station on the edge of town, and antique shops housing old gold mining collectables. On our way back from Clyde, we stopped at Gold Fields Mining Centre, and had a guided tour of an old gold mining site. The guide demonstrated old techniques for collecting gold, including gold panning and a machine used to filter rocks down the mountain quicker and though a filtration system which would collect the gold. We had our own go at panning for gold, although after several attempts we were unsuccessful, our guide assured us that people had found gold that day. The tour cost $50 for us both, which was quite expensive although I’m sure if you had found gold you wouldn’t have considered it expensive at all!
We spent the night at champagne boat ramp, which looked out onto Cromwell Gorge. This was one of our favourite camp sites to date, and the added bonus of it being a free campsite made it even more sweet.
We’ve been finding our campsites on an App called Wiki Camps New Zealand. The App costs £1.49, and lists thousands of campsites and points of interest across New Zealand. Well worth the money owing to what it has saved us on camp fees!