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Magic colours, magic shapes, magic nature
Not so easily accessible, and can be cold.
In a nutshell
If nature is not your thing, it is nothing else to do.
This tip is not about a restaurant in the common sense, and it is not just a shop... The high-country salmon farms deliver the freshest and most fantastic salmon you can imagine. If you stay at a motel or have other good cooking facilities, buy a fillet or a whole fish and prepare it yourself. Or just have some fresh or smoked fish or sashimi directly at the farms that are situated in the Lake Tekapo/Lake Pukaki/Twizel area.
There the salmon farmers have the most pristine waters in NZ, and they do not harm the environment in any way. But they are nervous that upcoming water schemes and irrigated dairy farms - a potential killer of lakes and rivers in NZ - could not only spoil the magic landscape of the Mackenzie Country but also harm the quality of the fish and thus their businesses.
Between Lake Tekapo and Mt. Cook, right on the hydro canals which are fed directly from mountain lakes, is Mt. Cook Salmon, the world's highest salmon farm, at an altitude of 677 metres. It is signposted on SH8 (left turn if you come from Twizel, right turn from Lake Tekapo). Not only the salmon is fantastic but also the views of Mt. Cook, the Southern Alps and Lake Pukaki. The farm has a large parking area and toilets. You can have a self-guided tour of the farm and also feed the fish.
I can recommend the detour even if you do not want to buy salmon. The road leads through the hinterland to Lake Pukaki where you can take a left turn back to SH8. (See photos in my Off the Beaten Path tip about the trip on the Bullock Wagon Trail.)
Another farm, named High Country Salmon, is directly on SH8, 3kms south of Twizel. It is is also a good place to have a look at the fish, feed or... eat it. Like on the other farm you can buy whole fresh fish, fillets or smoked salmon, and also get sashimi.
Favorite Dish: A whole fish prepared in the motel.
If you want to do this be sure to have salt, pepper and some fresh herbs, as well as butter or oil, white wine or milk, or however you want to prepare it. And a sharp knife!
The safest option is to buy fillets... ;-)
Updated Feb 21, 2007
Address: Twizel / Lake Tekapo / Lake Pukaki
Phone: (03) 4350 085
On your way up to Mount Cook National Park, you will pass by one of the most beautiful lakes in all of New Zealand, and I would hazard to guess the world. Lake Tekapo is absolutely breathtaking, especially when you look at how bright the contrast of the blue in the water is to the white on the mountain. Then surrounded by the gorgeous green trees really make for some stunning pictures. Just when we thought the view could not get any better… a rainbow pops up out of the sky and just made the whole picture that much better. Lake Tekapo is located just east of the highway between Twizel and Mount Cook National Park.
Written Mar 3, 2008
When in Mount Cook National Park, you will have the opportunity (in the right months) to enjoy one great thing about snow… snowball fights! Snowball fights are great exercise, and are not a huge risk for injury (as long as you do not add rocks to your snowball!). During one of our walks, Sarah tried to sneak up on me, but luckily I have excellent peripheral vision, and her plan was thwarted.
Written Mar 3, 2008