Mount Cook, Wellington and Auckland – New Zealand

 

IMG_1677

IMG_1799From Dunedin we arrived in Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. It reaches a height of 3,754 metres and has one off the clearest skies in the world. It so clear that they want to establish the world first national airpark here so that it remains protected. When we arrived there was literately no cloud in the sky and the weather forecast for the next 3 days was perfect (never saw a cloud 🙂 ). Bad news was that the bus was overbooked so I had to stay here for 3 days but the good news is that this is one of the best places to be stuck in. All the people in my room left the next day so I had the room to myself and with my own bathtub I enjoyed it fully.

IMG_1525When we arrived in the really nice hostel with an amazing view I took a 8 weeled amphibious buggy up the mountain to see views of Mount Cook and the Hooker glacier. It was pretty cold up there but I’m just glad I’m finally able to wear the warm jacket I’ve been carrying around for 7 months in South America.

 

One of the negative points (my opinion anyway) is that New Zealand is too perfect. There is absolutely no challenge in doing stuff. No language barrier, plenty of accommodations in every town and all the treks are perfectly marked or guided. Thankfully there are some exceptions like in the far south and here at Mount Cook.

The first day here I walked with a few people from the bus to 1 of the 2 glaciers here (Tasman glacier). When we got to the second bridge we got off the track and things where getting a bit dodgy but nothing we couldn’t handle. Steep snowy slopes , no signs and pure raw nature awesomeness. It was definitely one of the best hikes here in NZ We lost the path several times because of landslides and the snow. Most of the time we were just following animal tracks (they most know the way J) which resulted in a detour through some of the roughest shrubbery I’ve seen in my life. We were falling over constantly and one plant had some really nasty spikes which caused some light bleeding hands, haha. All in the name of exploration I guess.  The views we got over the glacier where fantastic and really outdid the Fox Glacier by far.

IMG_1649

IMG_1692

The second day I did a steep staircase mountain hike. It was kind of a resting day with just 2 hours of hiking up.

After Mount Cook I was headed straight back to Picton (at the top of the South Island)  to catch the ferry to the North Island. We stopped and stayed the night at Rengitate and after a nice sunset we passed the devastated town of Christchurch (also known as shaky town now by the locals). We saw the baby seals again on the way to Picton and now with my new camera i could finally get a few photos.

[youtube y-yA8RxkU-s]

[youtube AG3sqgF1lLw]

The ferry at Picton takes 3 to 3,5 hours to get to Wellington but they make it very comfortable with movies and nice couches. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. It’s funny how capitals are not always what you expect. Most people think that Rio is the capital of Brazil and Auckland is the capital of New Zealand for example. Wellington is a nice city, do. The “Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011” named Wellington as fourth in its Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011, referring to the New Zealand capital as the “coolest little capital in the world”. I did a “Lord of the Rings” tour here which was a bit of a disappointment. All they do is drive you around and tell you that this was the spot where they recorded a particular scene. There are no signs of the set being there because they restored everything after filming.

They will show a couple of pictures and off course you can see it was taken there because of a tree or landmark but that’s Hollywood for you (or Wellywood in this case 😆 )

Anyway a got a nice picture of me pretending to be an elf, Woohoo!

The museum in Wellington on the other hand was really good (maybe even the best I’ve seen in my live). Everything is interactive and they got some really interesting stuff like animals (huge wails and the biggest squid on display in the world), prehistoric replica’s and information about the earth (rocks, lava, earthquakes and stuff 😎 )

IMG_1942

After Wellington I headed for Auckland. Not much here so I just slept here and headed back on the bus.

Up next is the rest of the north island!