This is the view back down Tasman Valley on the walk up to the Tasman glacier in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, South Island, New Zealand. What you don’t see from this photo is just how strong the wind was blowing.
The National Park is a harsh land of ice and rock. Glaciers cover 40% of it. There are 19 peaks over 3000 metres including New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. The park is also part of Te Wahipounamu – South Westland World Heritage Area in recognition of its outstanding natural values. There is virtually no forest in the park. Instead, the park is alive with the most wonderful alpine plants. In summer, look for the striking giant buttercup, the large mountain daisies and watch out for the fearsome spear grass/taramea. Birdlife includes species such as kea, kärearea/falcon and the elusive rock wren/pïwauwau. The braided riverbed of the Tasman is home to the black stilt/kakï, one of New Zealand’s rarest birds.