Glentanner is both a vast sheep station (farm/ranch) and a holiday park/activities centre. It is located where the Tasman River, formed from the Tasman Glacier, becomes Lake Pukaki. There is also a small airstrip and a helicopter business. At around 600 meters above sea level, it is at the base of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook, about 20 minutes from Mt Cook village. Many of our mountains now have both a Maori name and an English name.
I had only planned to stay for one night, depending on the deteriorating weather and I stayed for three. I would have stayed longer if I didn’t have time constraints. I knew the area was expecting more gale force winds and Glentanner seemed the best place to stay as it somewhat sheltered and there is lots of wildlife to watch.
I had a great park with shelter via some very solid looking trees, one of them a cherry. In a few weeks I would have been able to stand in the Ducato, reach out and pick lovely fresh fruit, if the birds had allowed it 🙂 If they hadn’t it would have proved some great photographic opportunities.
I enjoyed the peace during the day, taking short walks through the subalpine vegetation, walking to the cafe to get a little treat and relaxing and reading. The other camper vans to and from Mt Cook, about 20 minutes away, didn’t arrived until dinner time.
I caught up on a few blogs (I was way behind) listened to the radio and while there was no talkback available, I was surprised that I enjoyed National radio and it’s eclectic range of programmes. It was cold, as I expected, but when the wind died down and after an overnight snowfall rather low down, the sun came out.
There were Red Polls everywhere, I haven’t seen one before, lots of newly fledged thrushes, a tom tits/robins, bell bird/warblers, finches, sparrows, dunnocks and pipits. It was time for me to start to learn to tell the difference between some of the species when I got home. I had never actually “looked” at differences. It’s amazing what happens when you have an uncluttered mind 🙂
I sat in the Ducato, throwing bread and watching, stalking them through the bushes which being sub-alpine had prickly bushes, possibly Hakea, and disturbing loads of rabbits, so many rabbits!! I heard a falcon, saw something overhead that flew a similar manner to a swallow but was much larger and am sure I saw a Kea 🙂 but perhaps that was my vivid imagination.
An entrance to a rabbit warren.
The helicopters and planes were unable to fly for the first few days and I knew the weather was OK on the last morning I woke up to hear them. I felt for the pilots, no flying = no income. I saw them a few times in the cafe, they seemed really young (to me) and a nice group of guys. I wonder if I would have been tempted to have a scenic flight if the weather was ideal.
On the second day I was able to walk down to the shore, though it was still very gusty!
It was with great reluctance I left but I will be back.