Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook

Lake Tekapo is a beautiful blue lake, that sits in front of Mt Cook and is very picturesque. The main reason for my trip to Lake Tekapo was to do a star gazing tour at the Mt John Observatory. I have been wanting to do this tour for a long time now and was really excited.

As it turned out I was disappointed with the tour. I was expecting to look through all these super doper telescope and get awesome close up views of stars, the milky way and planets. Instead we drove up the hill and looked at stars with our eyes and 3 smallish telescopes! I got the tour half price and was gutted to have paid for that, I felt sorry for the people that paid the full $85 for something they could do for free. Even though I was disappointed I enjoyed the evening, the guide knew his shit and educated everyone on our galaxy and it was nice to relax for a couple of hours under the stars.

I managed to arrange a couple of last minute trips near Mt Cook so headed off early the next morning. I was pretty excited as I wasn’t going to visit Mt Cook and was looking forward to getting to the base. The weather couldn’t have been better, the sun was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky - apparently the morning before snow was in the car park!

The first trip was called Glacier Explorer. The guides took us for a cruise around the ice bergs in the lake in front of the Tasmin Glacier. Basically the lake is melting the glacier and when the ice falls off it pops up in the lake. It was a pretty cool experience floating around these huge ice bergs, something I never dreamed I would do.

The second trip was a 4x4 trip along the Mt Cook Range. I was really looking forward to this trip but unfortunately it wasn’t really a 4x4 trip. We basically travelled up a rocky road in an Argo, which is a six wheeled off road buggy. We stopped off at a few points and got the chance to look down on the lake, and ice bergs and we got a better view of the Glacier. I enjoyed the trip but would have been gutted if I had to pay for it. When I hear 4x4 I imagine extreme off roading through valleys and streams, unfortunately this wasn't the case but I guess it’s hard to do on a mountain range! I was also disappointed that I didn’t get a decent look at Mount Cook. For this you need to hike around 10k’s. It would have been cool to do a day walk onto the Tasmin Glacier or to the foot of Mt Cook but as I’ve previously mentioned, recently I’ve lost my enthusiasm to take a whole day just to look at landscape. 

Mt Cook Range, the view from the road

The Church of the Good Shepherd

Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook Range

Lake Tekapo at sun set. View from the hostel

Pictures don't really show the size of these massive icebergs

Foot of the Tasmin Glacier

Mt Cook Range

View from top looking down at the icebergs

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