Mount Cook

Mount Cook National Park – Sunday 6th April

Anne here . . .

We saw a lot less of “Mount Cook” itself than we were expecting. It was always “just round the next corner”. But the neighbouring mountains more than made up for that. Also all the mountain tops were covered by strands of mist but again they are so impressive it didn’t detract from their awesomeness.

Mount Cook village is sort of like a posh base camp, about 75% tourists and 25% climbers. The Old Mountaineers cafe was closed by 8.30am for breakfast, the serious climbers and walkers long gone. But we walked for about two hours with stunning views of the Mueller glacier along the whole route. Shockingly 100 years ago the Mueller glacier filled the whole valley were we were walking but has now retreated to the mountain side. It definitely brought it home to me how much the glaciers are shrinking. Glaciers are really noisy! We heard constant groans, creaks and rumbling like distant thunder. They are beautiful as well especially when the sun catches them – shimmering white with blue and green steaks, although they often have a layer of gravel on top.

Paul has the confidence of a mountain goat, I do not! Paul scrambled up the terminal moraine to view the Tasman lake and glacier (main photo). Again the glacier has retreated to the far end of the lake but it is (was ?) the largest glacier in the Park.

Whilst driving round Lake Pukaki, a proper wild cat with bushy, stripy tail, ran across the road. And then to emphasise the difference, two of the thinnest feral cats I have ever seen. Generally we are also seeing lots of hunting birds with huge wingspans, Harrier Hawks we think? .

We have stayed in a very comfy bach, (batch) at the bottom of Lake Tekapo. Onto Christchurch today – Monday 7th April. Sadly it was too cloudy last night for star gazing but we are going to drive up to the observatory this morning just to see the views of the Lake.