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 crossed over to the west side of the south island at Arthur’s Pass in a downpour. We drove to the small village of Okarito on the coast where we would have gone kayaking if not for the rain. Instead we went for a short walk in the wetlands and rainforest. It was beautiful in the forest, but then the rain returned so we turned back.
The next day was overcast but the rain had passed. We were off to the Alex Knob Track, 10 miles with an elevation gain of 3,600 ft. The rainforest was steamy from the previous day’s rains as we started.
On our way, there were two places where there was an opening in the trees to give us a view of the Franz Josef Glacier. Unfortunately, when we reached the top at Alex Knob we were in the clouds and there was no view.
The next day we drove to Lake Wanaka (back to the dryer side of the island) with lots of stops and photo opps. The day after that we did the hardest hike of the trip. Roy’s Peak Track was 10 miles with a nonstop gain of 4,000 feet. The weather was great and the views were magnificent!
To see the rest of the photos from these days, click here.