In the heart of the NZ's Alps

Trip Start Sep 06, 2010
Trip End Sep 04, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Featuring rugged mountainscape covered by the tussock grass 'blanket' and turquoise lakes, rivers and streams spilling throughout this scenery, the Mt. Cook bus ride was another lovely excursion into the NZ’s in-land. Highly addicted to relaxing, milky-blue waters of French Polynesia, NZ is simply a pleasant continuation of this color path. Not expecting to find here any turquoise water bodies, it is quite nice surprise.

As the NZ’s weather is hardly predictable, leaving sunny Wanaka did not necessarily mean to arrive into sky blue Mt. Cook village. When almost there, a disturbing view at long ‘cloud arm’ spreading all over the valley was further fuelling my rain-fearing thoughts. Fortunately, the weather cleared out within an hour, revealing fantastic vistas at the surrounding, glacier carved, mountain ranges and valleys. Rising above all other, the majestic, 3,754 m high, Mt. Cook is the undoubtful jewel of this part of NZ. With its sharp, light reflecting snowy peak, this highest NZ’s mountain is perfectly positioned (seen almost in its entirety) to admire its imposing beauty. These high mountain ranges and deep rocky valleys also serve as a shelter and are home to the ‘living’ remains of previous Ice Ages, glaciers. Blessed with almost cloudless sky, I dumped the backpack at the hostel, and immediately headed to one of them. Two hours of pleasant walk along more than half-way dry river-bed, and I ended up at the shore of mud-colored Tasman lake with a few floating icebergs; definitely nothing spectacular.  And the glacier? As the ice body is well hidden underneath, up two 2 m thick, layer of stone debris, not a single inch of ice can be seen. The NP authorities must have expected the same question from tourists, therefore they placed in the outlook point an explanatory board holding the title "Where is the glacier?". Too funny; especially if I make a link to the Perito Moreno Glacier, which cannot be overlooked, unless you are totally blind. Also people up there did not seem to be much excited; I did not hear any ‘wows’, did not see any thrill on their face. Yes, it is harsh, but comparing mind-blowing beauty and size of the Patagonia’s glaciers with the local ones is simply a slaughter. There is absolutely no point doing it. A few days later, I met an Izraeli girl proudly showing me her pics of one of the NZ’s glaciers, so I asked her if she wants to see a properly sized glacier. After seeing a few photos of Perito Moreno she said: “Please, close your album, otherwise I start to cry”.

The second day, with the flawless weather and plenty of unburned energy stocked up in Wanaka, I was ready and eager to hike up to the Muller Hut. With the hut nestled, at altitude of 1,800 m.a.s.l., in between glacier covered mountain slopes and overlooking the winding down Muller Glacier, this three hour strenuous hike unfolds perfect views at the Hooker Valley and the glacier of the same name, and resounding waterfalls coming out of the melting glaciers.

On the way back, while meeting all those late-sleepers sweating their way up to the hut, I re-confirmed what was already noticed before that NZ is very popular with Germans. Coming from South America, with its rather limited exposure to German tourists, New Zealand seems to be something like a second home to our Western neighbors. I was really surprised how German can be heard almost everywhere. My personal estimate is that every 3rd visitor here holds German passport. As I was explained the reason for that might be that the Germans like to travel, and that they have money to do it. I think that greedy Kiwis have absolutely no problem with that. I would only appeal on the Germans to send out here also some pretty girls. What I have seen so far was definitely NOT meant for export! Besides Germans, the Dutch are the second most predominant European visitors to NZ. Apparently, there should be some Czechs, but I have not met any.

After boring two days in Wanaka, Mt. Cook was the place, which brought back a fair amount of enthusiasm and pleasure to my NZ journey. This tiny village, which does not even have a grocery store, also happened to be the first destination where I dropped my first two or three magical ‘wow’. What also made a difference was that great weather which is, and be aware of it, rather rare here. Let’s hope the sunny sky will follow me all the way back to Auckland. In summary, as my mood got improved, I am now looking forward to my next NZ adventures.

Greetings from Arthur’s Pass, New Zealand
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Faran on

- Thank God you are now looking forward to NZ adventures and the Latin depression has ceased in order for you to appreciate that beautiful country

- pretty good explanation for the Germans traveling so much. Bit short though, but I deem two valid points

- weather weather weather. And dude, not everybody can be made for export!

luxguy on

What is short? The entry? It is the whole page of text and I described everything I could

Faran on

I reckon I was referring to the explanation as to why Germans travel so much... guess I just wanted to say that there might be additional reasons as well. Just that.

luxguy on

Good to hear. I was afraid that you want me to write more. I am on my writing limits ;p

Sandra on

Wait until you get to Australia - it's packed with Germans...

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