We spent the morning driving from Queenstown to Mount Cook,  ​We took a side trip en route from Omarama to the Clay Cliffs – bizarre rock formations change colour depending on the time of day.  We also stopped at the site of the first bungy jump at Kawarau Gorge and watched a stream of tourists pay $205 each to complete their jump.  Over one hundred people a day take this mad challenge?!

We didn’t have much time for a long walk in these beautiful surroundings, but managed a couple of hours walk up to Kea Point – Mount Cook’s summit was buried in cloud, but we got a good view of the neighbouring glaciers.  The panoramic views from the Hermitage’s Panorama Restaurant made a nice last evening before heading back to Christchurch Airport.

We hadn’t expected to be woken at 4am with the bad news from home that our house had been subject to flood damage during the “Beast from the East” which is gripping Britain currently.  We are still trying to assess the extent of the damage, but it seems as though we will have a real mess to sort out when we get back home.  This has inevitably put a bit of a damper on the end of our trip, so I may not be up to date with blog entries for a while.

There is always a context to everything though.  Christchurch was badly hit by earthquakes in 2010/11 and 185 people died (commemorated by a display of white chairs in the town centre).  The city still bears the scars and there is a temporary “cardboard” cathedral erected a short distance from the decimated original building.  I just hope our house doesn’t look as bad as this!

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