Tramping (hiking) in Twizel

Trip Start Sep 16, 2012
Trip End Mar 08, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , Canterbury,
Monday, February 4, 2013

The weather forecast hadn't been very promising for our drive to Twizel and the first couple of hours were pretty dark but as the hills began to appear, thankfully the clouds started to clear. Our first stop was at Lake Tekapo where we pulled up at the church of the good Shepard that sits atop a small hill overlooking the lake. The lake was phenomenal, so bright and peaceful. Then we pulled up at Lake Pukaki, about 50km further on and it was even better - bigger, brighter and surrounded by the Southern Alps culminating in Mount Cook. We've never seen anything like it and I don't think any photo could do it justice although we did take loads.
Our home for the next 2 nights was a wooden chalet and by the time we checked in I was in a right state! For the first time since we've been away I was suffering with hay fever. We headed straight to the supermarket to get some antihistamines to stop me scratching my eyes out. Lots of the plants here are similar to the ones at home so I suppose it makes sense but I can't remember the last time I was that bad.
The next morning we woke up to torrential rain that lasted all day. There wasn't much we could do as Twizels tiny. We ventured back to Lake Pukaki to see the difference the bad weather made to the view. It was immense. The water was still bright but the mountains in the background had completely disappeared. It made us even more grateful for the good weather the day before! We sat in the car park of our neighbouring motel to use their wifi and caught an episode of the new series of Top Gear so that gave us a taste of home.
Our last morning was freezing - 7 degrees when we left at 9am! It had been so cold over night there was snow on the hills and on the mountains. It's meant to be summer! At least I understand now why there's electric blankets on all the beds and heating instead of air conditioning in all our rooms so far. Its a bit of a shock to us though after getting used to 30 degree plus heat in Oz.
We drove to Mount Cook national park through the stunning southern alps, alongside Lake Pukaki. As we arrived we noticed a sign showing the severity of the avalanche danger instead of fire danger like there is elsewhere! Im glad it was low! Although it was still really cold (9 degrees at 10am) we headed out on the hooker valley track. It's the most popular walk in the area but quite long so we thought we would just do the start of it as we had to move onto Oamaru. Well you can guess what happened, it was so spectacular we just kept going. It took just under 4 hours and was amazing. We were in amongst the mountains, walking across the valley to a lake with icebergs in front of the glacier! We walked across 2 swing bridges over raging water and on stepping stones which were challenging for my short legs. As we finished the walk and collapsed into the car the clouds parted revealing the top of mount cook for the first time. It felt like a reward for all our hard work including sunburn (no idea how that happened, it peaked at 13 degrees) and Alan smashing his good knee into a rock.
New Zealand has to be the most beautiful place I have ever been to. Even when I'm standing in front of all this scenery it's hard to believe its real. I really need some new adjectives to describe it as I don't think any of the ones I know come close to doing it justice.
The only disappointment was that we didn't get a clear night as Lake Tekapo is one of the top places in the world for stargazing. Still we can't really complain as we have heard stories of people in the past waiting 10 days to be able to see what we did!
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