This is the final post for our New Zealand Adventure. Before returning to Christchurch, where our trip ended, we stopped for two nights in Twizel which gave us access to Mount Cook National Park. We were lucky that the rainy days mostly occurred while we traveled from one place to another. The photo below was taken on such a day.
Twizel is near the end of Lake Pukaki. At this end there was a drain in the lake that allowed water to flow into the river below the dam.
Aoraki/Mount Cook is highest mountain in New Zealand at 12,218 feet. As we drove, towards Mount Cook there was a cloud over Lake Pukaki with the glaciated mountains rising in the distance. Very scenic!
We completed two hikes around Mount Cook. First we did the Hooker Valley Track, about 6 miles with little elevation gain. We crossed a few swinging bridges to end at Hooker Lake. It was an incredibly windy day with stormy weather over the mountain. After the Hooker Valley hike, we did a short walk to view the Tasman Glacier.
To see the rest of the photos from this portion of our trip, click here.
We took three nights in Queenstown. One day, we drove to Glenorchy and went out for a trip on the Dart River. This area is magical in its beauty. The backdrop of the mountains are stunning. We went upriver into Mount Aspiring National Park on a jetboat, passing one Lord of the Rings (Isengard) filming location. After going up river, we switched to inflatable kayaks and paddled back down.
After Queenstown, we drove to Te Anau, back on the wet side and rain forest. We did a 6-mile hike on a portion of the Kepler Track.
The next day we took a tourist bus to Milford Sound where we boarded a small cruise boat for a 2 hour journey on the sound. Usually one is able to make the 2-hour drive to Milford Sound independently, but there was a horrendous storm about a month before us that caused widespread damaged that closed the road completely for a while. Due to current road repairs , they were only allowing buses to pass either way at specific times each day. To add to the adventure of the day, our bus got a punctured tire on the way back. We took the opportunity to take photos in the road and relax. It was a nice break in the ride.