Snow-white mountains of Mount Cook National Park

Trip Start Jan 16, 2006
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Trip End Jul 05, 2006


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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

After two days in Christchurch, my next destination is Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak at 3755 m. But the weather forecast for the next couple of days predicts rain, wind and an occasional storm in Mount Cook National Park. So I decide to spent the weekend at Lake Tekapo and hope for better weather on Monday. Lake Tekapo is about 100 km of Mt. Cook and situated at the boundary between bad weather (mostly in the West) and good weather (mostly in the East) in Canterbury High Country. When I arrive at Tekapo, the mountains surrounding the turquoise-coloured lake, covered with the first snow of the winter season (from the previous night), offer a great landscape, especially from the summit of Mt. John (1031 m). A sky-observatory station is based on Mt. John as Lake Tekapo is supposed to have the clearest nightsky in New Zealand. Well, I haven't seen much of it as in the late afternoon clouds came drifting in from over the Southern Alps. But progressively, the weather was getting better, so when I made my way towards the Southern Alps on Monday, I felt quite assured that this was going the Mt. Cook day I was waiting for. And I was right. 3000 m-peaks were dominating the landscape, with the tent-shaped Mt. Cook clearly visible on top. Some short tracks in the National Park offer outstanding views on the mountains, glacier rivers and the alpine vegetation. At about 2.30 pm the weather changes drastically and Mt. Cook dissapears once again in the clouds. So I was lucky. A few hours of fine weather and some excellent views, that's all it took to make my day.
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