The highest mountain in New-Zealand
Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
161Trip End Ongoing
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Mount Cook National Park, with many other regions of the Southwest New-Zealand is part of a World Heritage Area. Of the 27 New-Zealand mountains over 3050 meters, 22 are in this park. The highest is the mighty Mount Cook, and at 3755 meters it's the tallest peak in Australasia.
Arrived at Mount Cook Village we do two hours return trail to Kea Point to admire the glacier closer. The colours are amazing and we are lucky it is hot and sunny
We spend the night in a holiday park further south in the valley and closer to the lake where we can admire a beautiful sunset on Mount Cook. This is the last time we see it as the morning after it is all cloudy.
The closest "real" city to Mount Cook village is Twizel located just south of Lake Pukaki. The town is only dated from 1968. It was built to service construction of the nearby hydroelectric power station and was due to be abandoned once the project was completed. Tenacious residents did not see it this way and the town subsisted. The hydroelectric management of all the dams in the region is` located in Twizel. All the lakes (plenty of them) in the area are connected via canals, which means that when a town needs more electricity, more water can be sent to that or that lake.
We carry on our way south towards Cromwell through the ever so beautiful landscape that we keep admiring. We take our time to stop over and deviate from the main road to see as much as we can.
Shortly after Omarama (nothing else than a town built at a crossroad of two valleys), and before the Lindis Pass we stop over for lunch. The Lindis Pass is some kind of peak road in the Dunstan Mountain Range. It is fairly hot on that day and that is the first steep mountain that our van Sushi has to handle with us. Sushi is heavy and slow and Rudi is trying to understand how to deal with automatic gears in mountainous roads!! Arrived at a spectacular lookout and almost where the road is the highest we have to stop over for a picture. And then Sushi starts going in ebullition and the anti-freeze overflows below the car!?!
Not really knowing what is happening (after only four days with the van!) and with no telephone coverage, we stop a car (a very nice couple from Steward Island) that really saves us. Sushi only needed cold air and cold water and half an hour later we are back on track! But gently and slowly this time.
We carry on through the mountainous roads without any problems until Cromwell where we stay in a Holiday Park and all have some rest before meeting our new employer in the morning. Ah Mondays!!!