“Beer is living proof that God
loves us and wants to see us happy.”
… from a Monteith’s Brewing Co. coaster at a bar in Twizel, NZ, attributed to Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)
Monday, 18 December, 2000
Continuing on toward the town of Twizel and the east side of Mount Cook, we drove through the fabled Mackenzie Basin. With it’s wide valleys, arid, tussock-covered (a sort of shrub) hills and distant snow-covered mountains, it reminded us of the US west … a perfect setting for an American cowboy movie.
Along the way, we encountered many fields of grazing sheep, and stopped to watch a shepherd and his dogs move a flock from one field to another. He simply opened the gate between fields and signaled to the dogs with a small, flat whistle held between his lips. He really didn’t have much signaling to do as the dogs seemed to understand, very well, just what was to be done.
Twizel, a temporary town built to house workers during construction of a massive hydro power project, has refused to die. While not pretty except for the distant mountain views, it is developing into a vacation community, serving the trade of nearby skiing and Mount Cook sightseeing trades. On the way to town, we passed a canal and small lakes that were an intense aqua color that we’d see repeated and explained the next day in our visit to Mount Cook.
We located our lodging for the night, Heartland Lodge run by Dave & Jenny Pullen and their black Labrador, Megan. The two-year old house is magnificent, purpose built as a B&B and for large scale entertaining. All brick, tile and plaster, the downstairs is huge, consisting of only a massive living room, a huge central stair and an open kitchen with adjacent dining area. The second floor has two huge guest rooms with whirlpools, showers, king-sized beds and magnificent mountain views. They also have a garage converted for accommodation where a family from Melbourne was staying during our visit.
Jenny has constructed a beautiful garden with an integral water garden. It is well developed considering that it is only two years old. Jenny sat us next to it while we all savored her delicious cheese and crackers and looked toward Mount Cook. That evening we had a delightful meal at the Hunter Café & Bar in Twizel. The delicious salmon is grown in local canals used to interconnect lakes that serve the hydro project.