Today we had planned to drive to Mt. Cook, which is not very far from the west coast but can only be accessed from the south. From the main highway we turned off at Twizel, prepared to drive 50km each way just to see this majestic mountain. Luckily it was a fairly clear day, so as soon as we turned onto the access road, there it loomed ahead of us. We pulled off the road to another scenic lookout at a body of water that turned out to be Lake Pukaki. Most people (there were a few other people there) were simply taking photos from the carpark, but we walked down to the lake and sat by the shore. I told Bob, “If I died now, I would die happy.” It was that gorgeous- and no one was there because they’d all stayed in the carpark. Seriously- it was only a 5-minute walk down the hill to the lake’s edge, and the view was so much better. We decided that we didn’t really want to drive to Mt. Cook after all, because we could already see it, and we couldn’t possibly imagine a better site to view it from than Lake Pukaki. This turned out to be the highlight of the west coast tour- the glacier was great, of course, but it’s so much more interesting to find something unexpected.