Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cloud Piercer

The Hermitage Mt Cook. It's hard not to sound like a cliche when you talk about the big, dramatic landscapes of the south of the South Island. To say they are awe-inspiring (and they are) is a sorry understatement that really doesn't do the place justice and photographs like these don't capture the scale and majesty of the mountains, the sheer brute strength of the land.
I took the road into Mount Cook Village on my recent trip south. The weather held but Aoraki/ Mt Cook was playing the elusive seductress, tucked under a bundle of fluffy, sun-shot cloud -not shown in any of these images I should point out. (I couldn't see the point of adding a photograph with a caption pointing to an invisible mountain). I was on a travel guide mission - getting the grand tour of The Hermitage Hotel, the primary accommodation provider in the village, who also own the Hermitage Motels and Chalets.
I also took the opportunity to check out the new Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, which is located within The Hermitage. It showcases both the Mount Cook area and the life and work of Sir Edmund Hillary. I watched the documentary film of Sir Ed's work in the Himalayas and found it a particularly moving experience. In fact, I felt a little 'displaced' when I stepped back out into the landscape. I kept thinking I was in the Himalayas instead of the Southern Alps and drove off half expecting to be met by a herd of yak. The perils of a travel guide writer's over-active imagination!!!.

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