We couldn’t have picked a better day to head to Mount Cook! The sky was clear apart from a few fluffy clouds and the weather was warm but not too hot. Mount Cook was absolutely beautiful, but it wasn’t what Darren or I had expected.
Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park
Mount Cook is a good 45 minute drive along State Highway 80, but with most of the road hugging Pukaki Lake, its a beautiful drive. Darren and I had it in our minds that the road would continue at least some way up Mount Cook, but we were left a little disappointed. The road stops at Mount Cook village so the high views we had envisaged never materialised. However, it is super pretty at the botton of Mount Cook. And in any case, we really didn’t have time to be driving any further out of our way.
After taking in the views of Mount Cook form the lower ground, we decided to take a little walk in the National Park. We saw a sign for the Tasman Lake glacier view and decided that would be a good path to take.
Tasman Valley Walking Track
The Tasman Lake glacier view point is a 40 minute return walk. It has the most incredible scenery. The majority of the walk is up some 400 well constructed steps. In the heat (and with our lack of fitness) it is a little hard work, by the views are absolutely worth the trek. There were many elderly people slowly completing the walk up too. I gave one lady a high 5 as she reached the top – she had put some serious effort in to get up!
Just before the top of the path there is a turning to the ‘Blue Lake’. We admired from the top before continuing on.
Tasman Lake Glacier View
The Tasman Lake glacier view is where everyone is heading. This is why. Its hard to see just how pretty it is my my poor photography skills, but we sat for ages in silence taking in the fresh air and stunning views.
On the return journey, we stopped at numerous look out points, taking in the breathtaking views along the lake.
We also took a wander down to the waters edge and sat on the stoney beach, listening to the crystal clear water lap up along the pebbles. We really had left some of the best views of the trip until last.
Pukaki Lake Salmon Farm
Back on the main state Highway we stopped at the Alpine Salmon farm. Because it was such hot day, we were actually in search of an ice cream for Darren but he was swayed by a box of Sashimi salmon. It was pretty delicious, and made all the more tasty as we stay and ate it overlooking the incredible view. We did end up grabbing an ice cream at Tekapo a few minutes later, too!
As we made our way back to Christchurch, we passed Fairlie for the 2nd time this visit. We stopped by at Mount Dobson Ski Resort to see if the road was still open, hoping we could have popped up to say hello to the Foote family who gave us the best jobs back in 2006 but sadly the resort was closed for the end of the season. We carried on, with just a couple of hours to go until we reached Aunt Mollies house where we would be staying for the final two nights.
The end of our incredible road trip was coming to an end.
Well, for now at least!
READ MORE: OUR BACKPACKER JOBS IN NEW ZEALAND
If you haven’t already read about our incredible trip so far, you can catch up on the rest of our New Zealand road trip by reading the following posts here: