Southern Alps-Mt Cook/Aoraki-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.


The first stop in the park wasa short hike to the Tasman Valley Glacier.

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 From the Air

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, and were given the gift of time with visa extensions….able to return 11 months later in January, 2020.

CLICK HERE for More Southern Alps – Queenstown, the Remarkables, Glenorchy

Select NZ Posts

8 thoughts on “Southern Alps-Mt Cook/Aoraki-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💖


  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!


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


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


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


    1. 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!!!!


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



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


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close