New Zealand: Mount Cook

Mount Cook was my all time favourite place of New Zealand. We went to the most spectacular places that were stunning. This was my favourite of the lot. Over our time at Mount Cook we did two main things. The first being a heli-hike which is where I would suggest everyone does their designated heli-hike in New Zealand. The second was a hike that was one of the only hikes that we did whilst in that country that wasn’t up hill.

Heli Hike

We were debating between two heli hikes whilst we were on the South Island. One in Franz Joseph and the other at Mount Cook. We ended up going with Mount Cook as we had heard from a number of people that the glacier at Franz Joseph had been massively reduced as a result of global warming.

Of course the Tasman glacier has also been massively reduced as a result of the planets rising temperatures, but the glacier was still breathtaking. Most of the time these types of trips are difficult to do as they are so reliant on good weather conditions to be able to run at all. No one wants to be stranded up a glacier without being able to get back to safety.

To begin the trip you have a safety briefing in order to prevent anyone getting hurt by slipping on the ice or the helicopter blades when getting in and out of it. Then you are off into the chopper and onto the glacier. Walking on the ice with your crampons attached to your feet to help you balance on the icy surface.

Our guide was explaining about the glacier itself and how much it has changed since he has been guiding there. The changes that we were even able to see, like ice falls that used to connect with the glacier no longer reach down far enough. Even the amount of silt on the surrounding mountains is a product that has been slowly revealed since the ice has melted away. This silt and loose rock is why climbing these mountains so dangerous, because the risk of avalanche is now extremely high.

The knowledge from the guide isn’t the only reason to do this particular heli hike either. On this glacier you can hear the rush of water beneath your feet. The ice that has melted is running down under the surface ice and creating caves that are forever changing and some of which you can explore. Going into a ice cave fully was something I have never done before and the novelty of the experience will make it something that remains a highlight of the New Zealand trip.

After exploring an ice cave we went to the ‘fountain of youth’. To fill up our bottles directly from the glacier itself. Honesty you cannot compare that water with anything. It was twice as delicious than any other water I have had. I know what your thinking, how can water taste so different from one another? To be honest, I have no idea but it was incredible. The guy who was taking us around swears that glacier water is the reason why he no longer gets sick. It’s the only water he drinks and if I could I would too.

Even after your time on the ice is over and you have to get back into the chopper. The view is so stunning that you don’t mind being flown around taking in the mountainous landscape around you.

Hooker Valley trail

After our adventure up on the glacier we decided to make the most of our time in the village and do a small hike. A three hour track along the valley floor to see Mt. Cook at the far end. This valley was the next one along from the valley with the Tasman glacier in so we got to see Mt Cook from both sides of the mountain ridge that it sits on. We went on a really beautiful sunny day which made the walk so much nicer to be on. After all most hikes are much better with a little bit of sunshine on your back.

The walk was one of the only hikes that we did which was flat. All the others were up hill 95% of the time. Which made our lives much easier. It is also a very popular hike as a result of its lack of incline and so had much higher foot traffic. The crowds started to thin after the first couple of view points where you can see Mt Cook from roughly half way. Then it was much quieter for the rest of the hike till you get to the lake at the end of the trail with Mt Cook reflected in the still waters. Well worth the walk.

One thought on “New Zealand: Mount Cook

  1. Really enjoyed reading this. Thank you Claudia. You certainly went on some hair raising jaunts!!

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