A sunny day under Mt Cook

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
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Trip End Jan 04, 2012


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What I did
Hooker Valley Hiking
Mt John Observatory

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Thank you"

“Thank you”

“Thank you”

“Thank you”

“Thank you”

“Thank you”

“Thank you very much”

“Thank you”

This is the response we received when after the tour guide had rudely just walked partially through Kate, we stood to one side allowing the 8 Japanese members of a walking tour pass us. So amazingly polite.

It comes after a 3hr walk to the foot of Mt Cook on a stunningly warm morning. We have seen all sorts on the walk including a couple of older gents equipped for a proper climb which I was very impressed by (they had rope and ice axes and everything), a couple of young Spanish walkers wearing gear which could help them cross the Antarctic although they only walked to the lake alongside us, and the Japanese group who left the car park 30 minutes before we had breakfast yet me and Kate caught up with them barely 30 minutes into our own 1 and a half hour trek to the lake at the foot of the glacier. They were going proper slow.

A nice little hike in which I am consistently reminded and so remind Kate that we are a lot fitter than we think we are. I set Kate a challenge of saying “Hello” to other people before they get a chance to say “Hello” to us along the path. It's amazing how many people don’t even acknowledge you or even smile. I see it as a bare minimum that you should look at someone and smile as you walk past, especially on a sunny day. It’s quite a nice thing when people smile back and exchange pleasantries. It just makes life that bit nicer. A good example of how to be nice when on a walk is to offer to take a photo for other people as they struggle to pose while holding the camera and framing it at the same time. Just offer, it might make their day. At the same time if you are asked to take a photo as I asked a Canadian Gentleman; the answer “Yes of course, would be my pleasure; you’ve chosen a great spot for a snap – would make a great greetings card, have a fantastic walk and holiday” is probably widely accepted as being one of the nicest responses to a simple yes/no request I have ever received.

We drove on after getting back to the campervan. The bright sunny day brought out all the mountains in all their glory and made the drive back to the main highway a breeze. We stopped briefly for a few snaps along the lake which looked even more turquoise under a clear sky and looking back could now see Mt Cook from a distance towering above it’s brothers; whereas yesterday it had been shrouded in cloud out of sight.

An hour drive from the highway took us up a steep hill climb to Mt John Observatory and the highest point for the Campervan (about 1050m) where we booked onto the evenings midnight Stargazing tour. It’s a bit pricey but with a clear night looking on the cards, it will hopefully be worth it. The Observatory overlooks another turquoise lake, Lake Tekapo and the plains all around right up to the mountain ranges and on a clear day offers spectacular views.

Once booked on, we retreated to a local campsite for a couple of ciders in the sun while Kate entertained herself putting bread on my shoes to attract the local flight based wildlife. We were surrounded by about 30 little birds all bidding to sit on my foot.
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