Aoraki Mt Cook – Cloud Piercer

“Anytime I think of a mountain anywhere in the world I think of Mt Cook. Its shape is so symbolic of mountains, it’s huge. It’s dangerous, I guess the fact that it’s the highest one in New Zealand… we’re just lucky.”

Mountaineer Jim Wilson

Yep, Lucky. Mt Cook’s peak is typically hidden by clouds, but our drive to the park started with a clear day at Lake Pukaki. The lake’s milky blue color is due to dissolved minerals – “glacier flour”. We stopped over and over for photo after photo. Yep, lucky.

Our entry to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park was via a short hike UP to the Tasman Valley Glacier.

The Hooker Valley Track, a 10k walk that prompts you to shriek “Look! Look at that! Oh my!” to complete strangers. Three suspension bridges, boardwalks, and rocky tracks led UP and DOWN to a glacier lake at the base of Mt Cook. The peak had retreated into the clouds, but there were icebergs (and there should have been Hobbits).

Flight Seeing from Tekapo

(Air Safaris – the Grand Traverse) from Lake Tekapo to the glaciers and NZ’s highest peak, 12,218 feet (3,724 meters).

The Enormity was Thrilling

A Work of Art

Lake Tekapo is a jewel

The Name – Aoraki/Mt Cook

Maori legend says the canoe of ancestral figure Aoraki (Aorangi) and his brothers capsized at sea and the freezing wind turned them all to stone. The canoe became the South Island and the brothers the Southern Alps. The English name of Mount Cook honors Captain James Cook who surveyed the NZ islands in 1770 (but never saw the mountain).

Mapping our Drive

And That Was That!…Or So I Thought

The Crescendo – The highest point reached in a progressive increase of intensity; however, on the South Island, around every curve, beyond every switchback and over every hill was a BIG scene. Distances are not long, but changes in vistas were astounding. We remained on the South Island for 10 additional weeks, 7 of which were Covid-19 lockdown.

Next Post: The Top of the South

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8 thoughts on “Aoraki Mt Cook – Cloud Piercer

  1. The photos are incredible! And who would know the 2020 Australian wild fires would result in brown snow. Incredible journey. Thanks for sharing💖

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  2. The experience and the company you keep makes the journey surreal! What a lifetime of memories! So glad we get to see the virtual journey version. Your photos are absolutely stunning!

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  3. Thanks once again for reading and commenting. It means a lot. Hope the house is done, or almost done!

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  4. Thanks. I remember when you told me about Mt. Cook – you set the expectations, and they were met. Maybe one day you and I should go back!!!!

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  5. OUR photos are incredible! Love both of our blogs.

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  6. Spectacular – your photos are incredible, and we actually experienced all of that beauty in person! Great memories!

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  7. Glorious! So beautiful it could hardly be real. Thanks for taking us with you xo

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  8. Angela Carter May 30, 2020 — 2:40 am

    Breathtaking

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