Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mount Cook

Today saw us take a short drive to Mount Cook. It is about 45 minutes from where we were staying in Twizel, so naturally we took about 4 hours to get there! It was a late start as we were both tired from travelling to New Zealand the day before. I think I managed about 1 hour sleep in the previous 2 days so it was only natural to sleep in a bit today.

Lake Ruataniwha
Once we started we took a quick detour to Lake Ruataniwha which was spectacularly turquoise, and then headed off. Except we took another detour back to Tekapo to see the lake which hadn't been at its best yesterday. Again, Lake Tekapo proved quite fabulous today. Then it was definitely off to Mount Cook, with a drive of about an hour from Tekapo, though it took us about 2 and a half because of the stops along the way. Lake Pukaki was absolutely brilliant today, and we just couldn't get enough of it.

Beautiful Lake Pukaki
Mount Cook, or Aoraki, is the tallest mountain in New Zealand at 3,754m, not bad compared to Mont Blanc, Europe's highest mountain at 4,808m and dwarfing Australia's Mount Kosciuszko which stands at 2,228m. Mount Cook is an impressive sight, and seeing the range of Southern Alps that it sits in, is breath taking. We had a drink in Mount Cook Village which has great views of the range, and then headed to Tasman Lake to get a view of New Zealand's biggest glacier.

Mount Cook peaking through the gap, seen from Mount Cook Village
It was a fairly tough walk to the viewing point for Tasman Lake up a number of steps. This was particularly tough for Caroline because of her conditions, but I was puffing a bit as well. Determination broke the pain barrier and Caroline made it to the top! There are plenty of other walking tracks around the lake, and there's loads of walking and cycling tracks through the whole area, mostly starting form Mount Cook Village. But the walk is worth it as at the top you are treated to views of the green lake, and the Tasman Glacier flowing from Mount Tasman, New Zealand's second highest mountain.

Mt Cook (left), Mt Tasman (centre right) with Tasman Glacier flowing from the bottom 
Tasman Lake has icebergs in it, and Kayaking in the lake close to the icebergs, and close to the glacier is apparently a big thing. We could see the icebergs, but the most wonderful view was of a butterfly on an Alpine Daisy! Tomorrow it is off to Queenstown...

Natures beauty

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