Wednesday December 2, 2015 (New Zealand, Oceania)
It would certainly appear that we’re getting lazy with these updates, n’est ce pas? I blame the fact that the trip is winding down. Less than a month left now! Where am I to draw motivation to write when my focus is entirely placed upon enjoying our last few weeks of escapism! But alas, I will fulfill my duties to you, faithful reader, in hopes of conveying to you our experiences unto the end!
We left you last in Wanaka. We’ve made serious progress since then! After Wanaka we made our way up to Glentanner within striking distance of Mt. Cook (Aoraki) – the highest peak in New Zealand! The drive to Glentanner was spectacular. The first picture here shows Sandra overlooking Lake Pukaki, which is a beautiful turquoise lake fed by glacier meltwater from Mt. Cook. Don’t say Lake Pukaki too quickly. People will look at you funny. We learned that lakes directly fed by glaciers are often grey in colour due to the increased particulate matter in the lake. But further downstream the meltwater will form incredible electric blue lakes as the sediments settle to the bottom and only the silicates remain to warp the light in such a lovely way.
So the drive was great. And of course, as is now customary for our time in New Zealand we didn’t have lovely weather for our first two days after arrival. Dreary rains and overcast clouds meant that we didn’t have the best views of Aoraki. But we made good use of our time and headed out on a slightly sunnier hike near the Tasman Glacier Lakes. Our go-getter attitude was duly rewarded as the next morning was crystal clear! This was our opportunity to strike out on the Hooker Valley Trek toward the foot of Mt. Cook. No jokes about the two of us spending so much time wandering the Hooker Valley, OK? Starting with that massive horizontal morning panorama shot that I nabbed of Aoraki, the pictures are from trek towards Mt. Cook itself. The scenery was really incredible in the area – especially when we could see Aoraki itself! When Sandra was here years ago she managed to catch a glimpse of the mountain during the drive, but the remainder of her time in the area saw it completely socked in with fog and cloud. It’s a common occurrence, so we were thrilled to have such great views of it. Luck was on our side! Or perhaps patience, after waiting a couple of days for the weather to improve.
Having completed this easy treks, we returned to Queenstown in preparation for a special event which will be the subject of our next blog post. The anticipation must be killing you. Or not. And honestly, it won’t be long until I post about it because we’ve got some free time and I’m trying to push out all of these pictures. So let’s pretend you’ve been patiently waiting and I’ve been patiently writing and we are about to gleefully meet in the middle.