Initially, the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park was not one of the highly anticipated trips in our itinerary (primarily because I knew we were not going to be able to climb it anyway) but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed our day trip. Kudos to our friends John and Elaine for arranging this trip for us (we left the planning in their capable hands so we actually did not know the complete itinerary - their itinerary did not disappoint).
This national park is home to the tallest peaks in New Zealand. From afar, we caught glimpses of snow-capped peaks as we wend our way across picturesque landscape. The South Island is indeed so different from the North Island - from what little I have seen of the north anyways.
What a difference a nature visit makes when it feels like you have the place all by yourself! I'm accustomed with jostling in crowded tourist spots, but enjoying such a magnificent scenery as this in our quiet time simply takes the cake.
We had a quick stop at the Hermitage Hotel, and then we drove off nearer the mountain where we saw a number of cars and campervans on what looks like a kick off point for tramping.
What a magnificent view. The setting afternoon sun emphasized the shadows and set the snow-topped peaks ablaze. We were in awe being surrounded by such beauty.
Alas, darkness was soon upon us and we left for the night. I wish we could stay overnight though; this place is a Dark Sky Reserve, and is one of the best stargazing sites on earth. Next time!
visit newzealand.com to learn more about this amazing place.