Ron Laughlin The Ultimate New Zealand Travel Guide
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At 3764 metres, Mt Cook in New Zealand is the highest of the country's 27 mountains over 3000 metres. The surrounding Mt Cook National Park offers spectacular flight-seeing, hiking and skiing.
Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Museum or get up close to a giant iceberg by boat on the Tasman Glacier terminal lake- http://www.glacierexplorers.co.nz
(blog) Our July adventure:
After Geraldine we heading inland. This is an area I advise everyone not to miss with its blue glacial lakes and the background of Mt Cook and its other Southern Alps neighboring mountains serving as the background. Our first stop was to visit the Lake Tekapo Holiday Parkright on the lake then just past is the Alpine Springs Pools. We didn't linger as i wanted to get to the Glentanner Holiday Park and see if we could get some photos of the sun setting on Mt Cook. Our timing was perfect plus the clouds behaved and didn't cover up the mountains.
We went all the way along Lake Pukeko to the Hermitage Lodge and then returned to spend the night at Glentanner.
The snow on the ground was now frozen ice and we were concerned if we could get into the park area where we were to stay but no worries. After getting hooked up electrically I got out the small heater they provide in the camper vans and it was but minutes the interior was toasty and wonderful.
I had a chance the next morning to share a coffee with Helen who owns the Glentanner Station and the Holiday Park. We hadn't caught up for a few years and enjoyed the visit.
I was up before daylight the next morning to get some photos of the sunrise and slip and slide down the small incline to the showers. From here it was back out to the main road in the morning and on east to a very special place hardly anyone is aware of and very interesting.
(to be continued)Mackenzie InformationLake Tekapo -
Lake Tekapo, with its milky blue lake and majestic surrounding peaks, is sure to make you have your camera out and active. Right on the lake is the historic stone Church of the Good Shepherd and the statue to the faithful sheep dog.
Popular in summer for boating, waterskiing, swimming, fishing and walking, Lake Tekapo is also a winter destination with hot pools, ice skating and skiing.
There is a pool complex you would enjoy on the lake - Alpine Springs -
After Lake Tekapo take the road to the right to the top of Mt John for the best scenic outlook - http://www.newzealand/ sky.com/earthandsky. This is a top site for astronomy with six telescopes on being New Zealand's largest at 1.8 metres across that can observe 50 million stars on a clear night.
Have a coffee at the Astro Café at the very top and perhaps meet Fraser Gunn, who is one of New Zealand’s top photographers who maybe there.
The powers that be are trying to get a starlight reserve at Tekapo protecting the darkness around and the clarity of the night sky here.
Back out to route 8 and continue through the Mackenzie Country next stop at the Information Centre on Lake Pukaki if to do nothing more than to take a photograph from the parking area. Spectacular sight. Of course I always recommend the I-Sites for the top help in their areas.
Mt Cook is a World Heritage area. Mt Cook National Park is 700 square kilometres in size, more than one third of which is perpetually under snow or ice. Turn offs to the Hooker Glacier and the Tasman Glacier are at the far end of the Mt Cook road with the Glentanner Holiday Park - http://www.glentanner.co.nz/ as you come into the area.
For those of you driving a car and looking for top accommodation be sure to stay at the world famous Hermitage Lodge - http://www.hermitage.co.nz/ . It is a 45-minute drive from Twizel at the end of SH80.
Mt Cook was first climbed in 1894 by New Zealanders Jack Clarke, Tom Fyfe and George Graham. It has been climbed by New Zealand explorer and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary who scaled Mt Everest in 1953.
The Mt Cook Village
The National Park Visitor Centre is in Mt Cook Village, close to The Hermitage, which is one of New Zealand’s more famous hotels, with its close-up view of the snow-clad peak.
Also in the village is the Mt Cook YHA Hostel which provides lower-cost accommodation.
Accommodation at Mt Cook should be booked in advance to be sure of a place to stay.
Skiing the glacier slopes
The Tasman Glacier, roughly north-northeast of the Mt Cook Village in the Mt Cook National Park. At 27 kilometres, it is one of the world's longest glaciers outside the polar regions. Take a helicopter to the Tasman Glacier and feel that wind whistle by as you glide down the magical landscape. Skiing won't ever feel quite the same again after skiing at Mt Cook. You can organise your helicopter flight to the Tasman Glacier from Queenstown or Christchurch or stay here and enjoy the area. After skiing at Mt Cook, you can claim having skied New Zealand's highest mountain.