In October 2006 we did a trip to New Zealand starting with a few days in the North Island covering Aukland and Rotorua. From Rotorua we flew to Blenheim in the South Island via Wellington.The bulk of the trip covered the South Island starting from Blenheim and driving around the island anti-clockwise visiting Picton, Nelson, Punakaiki, Hokitika, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson, Haast, Queenstown, Te Anua, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Moeraki, Oamaru, Mount Cook and finishing in Christchurch.
After visiting the Moeraki Boulders at Moeraki and the small town of Oamaru we drove inland towards the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. On the way we passed the spectacular Lake Pukaki which was a vivid blue colour from all the glacial water running into it.
We stayed at the The Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook Village which was right below Mount Cook and the other incredible mountains. This was an ideal spot to explore this wilderness area.
There is a statue of Sir Edmund Hillary at Mount Cook Village to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his ascent of Aoraki / Mount Cook and where he gained his early climbing experience before making the successful ascent of Mount Everest in 29th May, 1953 along with Sherpa Tenzing.
Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height since 2014 is listed as 3,724 metres, down from 3,764 m before December 1991, due to a rockslide and subsequent erosion. It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island.
Hooker Valley Track
From The Hermitage Hotel I took a short trek early in the morning on the Hooker Valley Track which is the start of the trail towards Aoraki / Mount Cook. I passed a memorial to many of the lost climbers who perished climbing Mount Cook.
Tasman Glacier Trail
After breakfast at the hotel we drove out and then took the Tasman Glacier Trail which was a wonderful walk through a glacial valley and ended with an incredible view of the glacial Tasman Lake.
We drove back from Mount Cook Village and headed towards Christchurch, our final stop on this tour of New Zealand. Again we stopped at Lake Pukaki and took some photographs at this very scenic spot.
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