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Elephant Rocks & Mount Cook

Crazy rock formations always seem to make their way onto our agenda, so when I heard about the South Island’s version of  ‘Elephant Rocks’ I knew we had to make a stop.

‘Elephant Rocks’

A secluded farmers field off the beaten track outside Duntroon, ‘Elephant Rocks’ are massive limestone formations that seem to resemble elephants grazing in a field.

Do you see the elephant

Once sand at the bottom of the ocean, these sediments were buried and the pressure turned the sand into limestone. When the whole area lifted and surfaced, the forces of the wind and water did their part in shaping the limestone. As we explored the area, the boulders started to resemble all kinds of creachers like the ‘bear’ or ‘hedge hog’ rock – almost like seeing objects in the clouds!

The ‘hedge hog’ or ‘bear’ rock

A popular spot for bouldering, this unique little attraction is just a short walk from the road and is shared with a herd of cattle and sheep – just make sure you watch your step! Fans of the Narnia series may recognize this area from scenes at Arslan’s camp that were shot here as well.

A few friendly cows amongst the Elephant Rocks

As we made our way towards Mount Cook, the storm clouds began to roll in as we passed the infamous glacial feed lakes. Their distinctive blue colour, created by glacial flour, make Lake Ruataniwha and Lake Pukaki seem almost unreal!

Lake Ruataniwha
Lake Pukaki

With our ponchos on, we headed up the Tasman Glacier View track. A short 20min walk from the carpark, we hoped to get a glimpse of Mount Cook, but the low hanging clouds kept it hidden. We were able to take in the Tasman glacier terminal lake and receding moraine wall which was evidences of the glaciers slow disappearance. A popular swimming spot in the summer, a few small iceburgs could be seen floating in the merky grey waters.

Tasman Glacier Lake
The start of Lake Pukaki in the distance

Our last stop was at the famous Church of The Good Shepard along Lake Tekapo. The small stone church was built in 1935 as a place of worship for the pioneer families of the Mackenzie country. Services are still held during the year and the altar window inside frames a perfect view of Mount Cook for it’s guests.

Church of The Good Shepard 

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