28th April 2013 13:00
Mount Cook (as you would probably expect), is pretty darn big. Like, mountain big. Arriving on the coach, you can see it looming in the distance and it's really quite astounding.
I arrived in the early afternoon, and I hadn't originally intended to go out - rather stay in the hostel and write some of my blog (I think you can guess how well that went while I was in New Zealand, as you're still getting updates now I'm back home!). There was no way I could stay inside with a view like this calling to me though...
I stopped off at the visitor centre, and discovered the Hooker Valley track was still easily do-able that afternoon. Apparently it's frequented by classy ladies in 6" clear heels every few hundred metres. I packed up my bag and eagerly headed off in that direction...
The track goes right to the edge of the glacier, where a lake has formed and chunks of ice which have broken off the edge can be seen floating in the water. While I was walking, I saw two crazy things. Crazy thing number one was a guy in flip flops... now I virtually lived in flip flops while I was away, but trust me, this wasn't a track you wanted to be doing that in. Crazy thing number two was people running along it. Mentalists. Anyway, the view at the end was just brilliant, with the reflection of the mountain in the (nearly) still lake. I stayed for as long as I could, before having to return to make sure I got back before dark.
I'd worked up quite an appetite, and I decided to treat myself to a quality meal at a grill I'd walked past earlier on in the day. I was on my way there, when a car pulled up and a couple asked for directions, coincidentally to the same restaurant I was walking to. They kindly offered me a lift, and I accepted, having always been advised to both take sweets and get into cars with strangers.
The two abductors - Denise and Dave - and I sat down to eat our meals with refreshing beverages to wash them down. Turns out they were both police officers and were in New Zealand on their honeymoon, travelling around the south island in a car. They had not intended to go to Mount Cook originally but changed their plans last minute, and had just arrived when I saw them. I told them they made a great decision! The decision to go to the grill wasn't bad either.
The following day, I walked another shorter trail to Kea Point, which gives a good view of the glacier, and got accosted by Chinese tourists for photos! Not just to take photos for them... having done that I was also dragged in to have my photo taken too! Still, they bribed me with cherries and sweets so I wasn't complaining in the slightest. No photos of them sadly, but here's the view from Kea Point.
On the way back, I decided to tackle the Sealy Tarns track. This one was going to be a little tougher though... 1810 steps up the side of a mountain to give an even better view of the area! I knew it would hurt as I'd become very unfit and not done any real exercise (other than walking EVERYWHERE) but I knew I had to do it! I'm so glad I did. Words can't really describe it, so here:
After that tiring climb, I rewarded myself with a meat lover's pizza at the grill again. It just had to be done. With a full stomach, I returned to my Mount Cook hostel for the final night, and prepared for my journey to Dunedin the following morning.