Tim & Anja's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Some of the landscape along the road in the Mackenzie District -...

Our first glimpse of some big mountains off in the distance

Our tent site at Lake Tekapo with the lake in the background...

Lake Tekapo at dusk

Lake Tekapo the next morning at sunrise

Along the Lake Tekapo walkway

Isn't it beautiful??!!!

Anja showing off the view

No words necessary

The payoff at the summit of Mt. John

Mt. Cook - the tallest mountain in NZ - over 3,700 meters...

Along the road - getting closer

These awesome views are so distracting when trying to drive

From near the start of the Hooker Valley walk, looking back from...

Overlooking a glacier lake - I wonder how you get across that...

Yes, a swing bridge! And lucky us, it was windy that day!

Another bridge later in the walk

Showing off the beauty!!!

The river running from the glacier

Don't worry, we're safe - read closely

On the walk up to see the Tasman Glacier

The Tasman Glacier - note the icebergs

Now notice the speedboats!

Next to Lake Pukaki - the turquoise color was striking

On Saturday morning we were itching to get on the road, so we reaquainted ourselves with the Mystery Machine and she obligingly started after only a few trys. Not too bad after her 3 week vacation. We quickly got used to living out of the car again and soon it was a little messy with clothes, bags, and some food scattered around. We tried to do some organzing before we left, but the weather didn't cooperate. It's getting to be autumn down here, and apparently for this region high winds are not uncommon. We practically got blown over!! And rain came in sideways. And then the sun would come out for 10 minutes and winds died down, but wait, soon a sudden change, the temperature would plummet, and it would be windy again. It's like all four seasons in one day!! We've definitely learned that weather around here can be quite variable so you have to be ready for anything.

We had visited the Department of Conservation office in Christchurch before we left town and they overwhelemd us with all sorts of maps and ideas for suggested hikes and camping opportunities. It was awesome, just what we were hoping for. We opted for an inland route out of Christchurch, and headed for Lake Tekapo on our first night. As you can see from the pics, it turned out to be beautiful, albiet a little cold as we learned from our first night in the tent.

We got in the groove again and really started getting into shape for longer hikes by taking two short walks on Sunday. One was around Lake Tekapo, just gorgeous, with crisp, cool, but sunny weather. Then we hopped in the car and drove about an hour down the road and entered Mt. Cook National Park. Before we even got there we were amazed by the startling turquoise blue water of Lake Pukaki. Even better, the weather was perfect, the sky was clear, and we were so excited to enjoy the views, totally unlike the awful conditions we experienced on the North Island and Tongariro.

So the pictures do most of the talking here, we enjoyed a nice 3 hour walk in the afternoon in the Hooker Valley with mountains and rivers and breathing in of fresh air. We kept trying to compare the two walks, and decided that Lake Tekapo was nice because it was quiet, had great views of mountains farther away, and we mostly had the trail to ourselves. Hooker Valley was nice also because the scenery was so impressive, being at the base of the mountains, but the congestion on the trail was a bit much at times.

Next we're headed back to the coast through Oamaru and on to Dunedin, with maybe some penguin viewing, and of course more tramping!!!

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