We went from Dunedin via Middlemarch (not quite straight out of a Victorian novel – someone with a sense of humour?) and had a lovely coffee stop at the Kissing Gate Cafe. Coffee – something the NZers do so well. Middlemarch is also on the Central Otago Rail Trail, an excellent cycle trail following the old railway track for miles. Shortly thereafter we were slowed down by a large flock of sheep being moved along the state highway – only in NZ.
On to Ranfurly with its Art Deco buildings and finally to Cromwell via the huge Clyde dam with the town of Clyde sitting beneath. This is a huge dam and hydro-electric project.
Cromwell used to be at the confluence of two rivers but the dam at Clyde changed all that. It created a lake and Cromwell is now essentially a lakeside town. It was originally a gold-mining town. The High Street ran close to the river (see old pic) with buildings on both sides. When the dam went in, one side of the High Street was lost and the remaining side faced the lake. The Street itself was all but submerged as well so this area essentially became a ghost town – and is now a heritage precinct. This all happened quite recently – 1978. Cromwell is now primarily a new town noted apparently for its fruit farms – and we also noticed large areas growing vines.
On to Mount Cook via the Lindis Pass through the Dunstan Mountain Range and via Omarama and Twizel (pronounced Twyzle not Twizzle – apparently the Brits always get it wrong). Then the drive alongside the glacial Lake Pukaki. We stopped for a picnic and first view of Mount Sefton and later Mount Cook in glorious clear weather. Spectacular as ever.