Danny Yee >> Bushwalking & Travel >> Otago, Southland, Fiordland (New Zealand)

Twizel + Mount Cook

Monday 17th February

There isn't much to see in Twizel - we only stayed there because we couldn't find accomodation in Mount Cook. Our motel had been converted from accomodation for workers building the nearby hydroelectric systems.

We had cornflakes, coffee, and tinned fruit for breakfast, then threw out a lot of left-over food. Setting off around 7.50, we had the streets to ourselves, but we got a bit confused trying to get out of town. There were some really amazing clouds, so we stopped to take photos - I took one standing right in the middle of the highway. And there were more attractive clouds, and other scenery, as we drove out alongside Lake Pukaki.


early morning clouds at Twizel

Twizel clouds from the middle of the highway

When we got to Mount Cook Village we drove around the village, then headed out to the camp ground and did the short walk out to Kea Point. Mount Sefton and the Footstool had their tops in cloud, but Mount Cook/Aoraki was clear. It was very windy, with sand and dirt spraying off the moraine walls, and I almost lost my hat a few times.


Mount Cook (Aoraki)

moraine wall

We then drove out to the next valley along, and walked out to the viewpoint over the Tasman Glacier - though that is covered in gravel and not that appealing. We could also see Mount Cook peeking above the intervening mountains. It was still too windy to be comfortable, taking photos or even just sitting looking out. So we retreated to a shelter near the car park, where we boiled up packet soup (it was almost too windy for the stove even in the shelter) and then coffee. We tried to burn off the remaining fuel (since we couldn't take it on the plane), but at 12.30 the stove was still going, so we abandoned that and headed off on the long drive to Christchurch.


the Tasman Glacier

"blue pool" (green pond)

the Church of the Good Shepherd

It was glary so we took turns driving. We stopped briefly at the Lake Pukaki visitors' centre, but they had no books on the power system - the best they could manage was a boring corporate brochure.

We had lunch at Lake Tekapo, where it was still too windy for more than a short stroll - even the sparrows were huddled down on the grass! Then it was on to Geraldine, where we had some ice cream. And we stopped a few times after that to take more photos of clouds, haystacks, and giant watering machines.

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