Thursday, December 24, 2009

NZ 2009 Day 9 - Mt Cook / Lake Tekapo

Our last chance of have a glimpse of Mt Cook. Unfortunately, the weather is still not cooperating. It was raining from early morning.

Went to the common kitchen/dining/living area of the hotel for hot drinks.

We were sort of stuck to indoor activities. Good thing the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre was there. It has 3D movie, planetarium and museum ($52 for family).

The museum contains exhibits of Mount Cook history like transportation, climbing the Hermitage Hotel and pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary.

We watched the 3D movie which is a 15-minute show of how Mount Cook was formed, according to the Nagi Thau Maori Legend.

We were also able to watch all the 3 shows at the planetarium:
1) Mount Cook Space Traveller - an 18-minute show exploring the night sky about Aoraki Mount Cook.
2) Infinity Express - a 22-minute scientific documentary of life outside our solar system
3) Black Holes - a 22-minute scientific exploration to the world of Black Holes

All of the shows were educational, enlightening and puzzling. Makes me wonder what really is out there in space.

We also visited the visitor centre.

From the visitor centre diamond window, we should be able to see Mt Cook. It's just so depressing we were at the village in this very cloudy weather.

After lunch, still no luck with the weather although it was a little better (only drizzles). We decided we wouldn't want to waste our trip to Mt Cook Village. We went ahead with our plan to go on the Tasman Glacier and Hooker Valley walks.

From Mount Cook
The Hooker Valley walk is around 30minutes return from the carpark.

We had to drive down from Mount Cook Village then turn left to Hooker Valley Road after the small bridge. The signposts are quite easy to follow.

We passed by the Alpine Monument - in memory of those who perished in avalanches in the area. This was an easy walk in flat unsealed walkway.

stopped by the Alpine Monument for some photos.

The path to the Hooker Valley Viewpoint was slow steep ascend. From the Alpine Monument, get back to the main track and turn left.

From Mount Cook
view of the Mueller Glacier Lake

view of the Hooker Valley from the top

The trek to see Tasman Glacier was around 40minutes return. We had to walk towards the bushlands, up the rocky hill and over the other side. It was a bit scary. Some of the parthways had make-shift steps while others seem to have lost the track altogether. We had to find our own way up! The boys did well in the trek.
chunks of ice that broke off from the glacier a few years ago

at last, we reached the top of the viewing area. It started to rain after a few minutes, hence the raincoats.

Finally, it was time to say goodbye to Mt Cook Village and we were on our way to the next town, Lake Tekapo.

We booked a family villa at Lake Tekapo Motels and Hotels. Our villa was on the second floor (no lift so we had to carry our luggage up). It has a fully functioning kitchen, a big living room, a dining area, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom with laundry facility and a separate toilet.

We wanted to make full use of the kitchen (to cook our dinner and breakfast) so after unpacking some of our stuff and resting for a few minutes, we headed out to the grocery and did some sight-seeing after.

We visited the Church of Good Shepherd.

From Mount Cook

I took this photo from the rear-end of the church. I got the idea from a brochure. The glass window reflected the mountain and sky (in this case the clouds).

There was also this statue of a border collie.

Upon getting back to the hotel, we prepared our dinner.

DAY 10

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