Lake Tekapo / Mt Cook

I am finally writing out my more detailed location posts of my trip to NZ! We flew into Christchurch and spent the first night there but I’ll come back to Christchurch later, because this is also the final destination of the journey. Our next stop is one night at the small town of Lake Tekapo.

So how to get to Tekapo?
A lot of driving in New Zealand is just one main road so basically just head south in Christchurch and follow the signs until you get to the town, at which point you actually have to work out where your accommodation is. Tekapo is a small town so it isn’t that difficult to figure out where you need to be, there’s one main strip of shops on the main road and your accommodation is probably just down the road on Lakeside Drive. We had beautiful sunny weather when we arrived in Tekapo so we went for a sunset walk down to the photographer’s dream spot, the Church of the Good Shepherd. The church is pretty but the lake and surrounding mountains at sunset was much more picturesque in my opinion.

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We didn’t spend too much time in Tekapo as we were keen to get to our next destination while we could enjoy the nice weather. It was cloudy in the morning but began to clear up as we drove and arrived in Mt Cook village to a perfectly sunny afternoon. The drive is a stunning one along the edge of incredibly blue Lake Pukaki as the Mountains slowly rise in the background. Because we arrived with such great weather we decided to do the Hooker Valley walk as it was one of the ones we had been looking forward to. This is a relatively easy walk (nice and flat, smooth trail), which took us a few hours due to taking lots of rest and photo stops along the way. The views at the end are amazing, up close to the largest mountain in NZ and you can even get wet in the glacial lake (we saw some guy get fully into the lake and wash off – despite it being so cold there were chunks of ice floating in it!) The walk returns the same way you came and then feeling ambitious we thought we would finish off the day by heading to the Tasman Glacier as well. We were expecting some amazing mirror lakes at this spot but were a little disappointed that they were pretty small and filled with algae. The Tasman Glacier at the top of the walk was pretty interesting to see however, as there were comparison pictures of the glacier in the past to show how much is has decreased in size.

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There is not much to Mt Cook Village so we cooked our pre-bought food in the hostel kitchen and had a quiet night in the hostel sauna. Next day we woke up early to catch the sunrise which was very mild, tiny bits of pink on top of the mountains and a mostly clear sky. As we were up early we decided to walk the Governor’s Bush trail before heading to our next destination. It’s a nice walk surrounded by lots of native plants but there is not much to see as there is no viewpoint at the top of the walk.

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