Just when I start to think I can’t love this country anymore I go and get up close to Mount Cook. Even on a rainy, hungover day this place will blow your mind. As I made my approach to Mount Cook after turning off the main road between Queenstown and Christchurch I was in the company of three Kiwi’s and a Canadian. You’d think those who were used to seeing this marvelous sight and someone who is from the land of many mountains would take this view in their stride, but I can confirm there was a lot of “oh my god”-ing and “how lucky are we?” going on.
As far as weekends away in NZ go I’m pretty sure you could go anywhere and have a great time (ok, maybe not anywhere but most places). My friends and I picked Twizel. It kind of started off as a joke because it’s often just a pit stop on the big drive from QT to Chch but it developed into a real, planned weekend as being roughly in the middle of the two it’s quite a good place to meet (logical, ay?). As expected when nine people in their early twenties get together we “celebrated” with alcohol. We did not however, succumb to it’s effects the next day. No, nope, nada. There was no stopping us, we were going on a hike whether it killed us or not.
Ok, I use the term “hike” (or tramp as the Kiwi’s would say) loosely as the Hooker Valley Track is pretty flat and you most certainly don’t have to be a seasoned hiker to have a crack at this one. Nonetheless we all put on our active gear and got out there (at least we looked the part, right?). It’s roughly a 3 hour round trip so even though you’re not going to be out of breath you’ve still definitely earned that G&T at the end.
What really strikes me about the Hooker Valley is how flat everything is then all of a sudden these huge mountains shoot up out of no where. I genuinely think you’d be hard pushed to take a bad photo here, it really is like walking through a movie set.
My one complaint about this track (going to get it over and done with now) is that it’s a walk there and walk back kind of gig. The views going in are amazing but once you’ve got there you’ve already seen it all. Of course there is absolutely nothing that can be done about this as they’re mountains and we most definitely can’t move them. So all in all a pretty pointless complaint, but it’s a good heads up to anyone planning on doing this track!
The Hooker Valley seems to have it’s own little eco-system as it was all blue skies and sunshine as we approached but once we were on the track the weather seemed to look a bit more menacing. Not that I minded too much though as it made for some pretty dramatic pictures. Although I’m not sure the woman we saw get knocked over by the strength of this wind would agree with me…
So we made it! Feeling slightly dusty from the night before but we all pulled together and got to Mount Cook…which was covered by cloud…oh well! The track itself is beautiful and my mind was already blown by the giant bits of ice floating around (you can see them behind us in the picture above). It just means I’m going to have to go back again, what a shame. Big thanks to the wonderful gang for a top weekend and helping me discover more beautiful places in NZ. This place just keeps on taking my breath away.