On our final morning in Mount Cook National Park, the clouds had lifted and we had the most beautiful weather, which meant that we could finally do the hikes that I had planned! We woke up at 4AM (sorry Aled), packed our bags, and drove to the carpark at the start of the Tasman Glacier Hike. It was pitch black and there were bunnies running at the car from every angle, attracted by the bright headlights! The start of our hike was in the darkness – it was totally fine though, as the track was relatively short (~30mins) and we used a torch to illuminate the path. Instead of going to the glacier, we first went to the other end of Lake Tasman, where we watched the sun come up. This was, hands down, my favourite travel experience to date. The sky lit up purple, and gradually flooded with warmer pink and orange hues. We had the lookout to ourselves until sunrise, and the only word I can use to describe it was magical. After the sun had risen, we followed the trail up to the glacier – beaut!
From the glacier, we headed back to the car to 1) warm up and 2) eat something! From there, it was a short drive to the White Horse Hill Campsite and the start of the Hooker Valley Track. The snow from the previous day meant the trail was like a winter wonderland! It was so beautiful. The track was 10km return and pretty easy. There were huge suspension bridges that were like little ice rinks, since the snow had been compacted by those who had camped overnight (brrrr!). Although it was a relatively straightforward hike, we were ravenous by the time we got back to the car and headed to a nearby hotel for a mega fry up! I was so glad that we finally got some good weather in Mount Cook NP… and that I actually got to see Mount Cook! It was definitely one of the highlights of the entire trip.
Watch the video diary of our New Zealand Road Trip here:
The New Zealand Blog Series (unlinked posts are coming soon!):
- Mount Cook National Park Part 1
- Mount Cook National Park Part 2
- Wanaka and Hiking Roys Peak
- Mount Aspiring National Park
- Fjordland National Park and Milford Sound
- Queenstown and Glenorchy