Saturday 10 November 2018
Leaving queenstown today. Just as the weather is starting to clear. And you can finally start to see some of the surrounding mountains!
A different bus and different driver today. A big bus! All the people I was with previously are staying longer in queenstown. But I don’t have time.
The first hour or so was the same journey back out of the town – past the Kawaru bungee area. And back to the fruit shop that we stopped at on the way.
This time I bought some fruit – couple of apples, kiwis, oranges and grapes. For £3.
The landscape was flat for a while. Full of sheep. And vineyards.
Then we came to the snow capped peaks. And the tallest mountain in New Zealand – Mount Cook, at 3,754m high.
Mount Cook village is a 50 minute drive off the main road. This is a picturesque road – driving up towards the mountains.
The mount Cook national park is 700 square kilometres and is a world heritage area.
We stopped a couple of times for photos, some along the road. Others by the bright blue glacial lake – Lake Pukaki.
We had arrived a bit early, so went on a detour to the Tasman Glacier. Here there was a 15 minute walk up stairs, to get to a view point.
The view point looked across another bright blue glacial lake (with some iceburgs!) sitting in between snow capped mountains. Really cool. However, this lake has only been formed due to the melting of the glacier. It is already 4km long and is expected to reach 8km over the next 20 years.
Mount Cook village is just a collection of guest houses/hotels. No shops. No cafes.
After leaving our stuff, the bus drove us another 2km to the starting point of the hooker trail.
This trail is 5km long (10km return) and takes you through the valley to the hooker lake, at the base of mount Cook.
It was very busy. Lots of people doing the trail! Although given it was now 3.30pm, most people were returning.
The walk was pretty – past the river. Over the river a few times on 3 swing bridges. Through snow covered ground. And always with a view of the snowy mountains.
It took me an hour to reach the lake (not the 1.5 hours advertised). Although I was waking pretty fast.
Going back is just the same route again! And again, it took an hour.
On the way back I saw a few rabbits hopping around. Very cute. Here they are seen as pests and there are regular shooting days organised – it’s a competition to see who can get the most. These days usually kill around 20,000 rabbits 😦
Although this time I had the extra half hour walk back to mount Cook village.
I got back around 6.30pm. Still in daylight – it gets dark around 8.30pm here.