Tag Archives: Mount Cook

Out on the Open Kea Point Trail in New Zealand.

Kea Point trail is an hour trek through the countryside from Mount Cook Village on the South Island of New Zealand. It ends at a platform from which you can get great views of Mount Cook (Aoraki), the tallest mountain in the country, and several other mountain peaks.

I wrote about it and my times at Mount Cook Village in a previous post: A Few Hours in Mount Cook Village. Below are some additional photos from my time on the trail, along with some blown up shots from my original post. The hike provided some of the best scenery I’ve seen in New Zealand.

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Kea Point Trail, Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

What other walking paths and hiking trails would you recommend checking out in New Zealand?

Photo of the Week: What about that Avatar?

I’m often asked where the picture of me in the blog header and my Twitter, Facebook, etc. avatar is from. It was taken from the Kia Trail near Mount Cook Village on the South Island of New Zealand. I was out on the open trail heading towards Kea Point. To this day it’s one my favorite photos and travel memories. πŸ™‚

Mount Cook Village, South Island, New Zealand

You can read more about my time on the trail and around Mount Cook Village in A Few Hours in Mount Cook Village and Photo of the Week: The Road to Mount Cook Village.

Photo of the Week: The Road to Mount Cook Village.

Road to Mount Cook Village, South Island, New Zealand

A rest stop, viewing point along Mount Cook Road (State Highway 80) in Canterbury on the South Island of New Zealand.

It’s along the first part of the 55 kilometer road to Mount Cook Village that runs alongside Lake Pukaki. Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, is off in the distance. A great spot to get photos of the lake, mountains and greenery.

I remember having a bowl of cereal sitting on the hood of the car just soaking in the view. Just out on the open road indeed.

A Few Hours in Mount Cook Village.

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

On a drive from Christchurch to Queenstown my travel companion and I decided to stop for a short night in Mount Cook Village. Mount Cook Village is right within Mount Cook National Park and consists of The Hermitage Hotel, internationally inspired, a hostel, motel, campgrounds and living quarters for the staff. It’s twelve kilometers from Aoraki/Mount Cook which is a part of the Southern Alps and is the highest peak in New Zealand.

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

It’s the perfect place for the outdoor enthusiast and to see the highest mountain peaks and longest glaciers in the country. Hiking, fishing, mountain climbing, glacier exploration, helicopter rides, safaris, boating, camping, there is something for everyone.

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

There is only one way in and out of the village, State Route 80. It’s a 55 km drive off the main highway, mostly running along the western shores of Lake Pukaki. Driving to at night was quite the adventure. Learned you have to travel slow at night during the summer months. Rabbits run rampant, jumping out from both sides of the road, one after another, getting excited by vehicle headlights. It was amazing being away from lights and civilization, all the stars in the sky. I’ve never seen so many.

Due to the remote nature of the village, especially in the winter, the staff is pretty much there continuously. Everyone knows everyone very well. We were only passing through basically to get rest. Did manage to do an hour hike to Kea Point at the crack of dawn as mentioned in a previous blog post. It was amazing the photos I got as I navigated down the trail.

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

At Kea Point you can panoramic shots of Mount Cook and some of the other tallest peaks in New Zealand, all snow-capped.

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

Having finished the hike it was already time to take off. The ride back to the main highway was free of rabbits thank goodness, but there were lot’s of cows about, some crossing the roads and the ones below were coming right towards us. There are several stoppage points along the route to get amazing photos of Mount Cook from different distances as well as the lake and surrounding area.

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

Mount Cook & Mount Cook Village - New Zealand

There were lot’s of hitchhikers along the road waiting to leave the village as well as at the entrance to the main highway. We picked one up who was heading to Queenstown as well. Will definitely take advantage of the area next time. What are your favorite activities and recommendations of to-dos around Mount Cook National Park?

#Blog4NZ – Traveling the South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand is the most beautiful place in the world. Great food, great people and amazing scenery that changes on a dime. You can see the rainforest, beaches, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, prairie and more with just a few hours of driving. I’m helping to support #Blog4NZ, an initiative by travel bloggers to help support tourism in New Zealand following the tragic earthquake in Christchurch. I recently went on an adventure around the South Island and here are some of the highlights, places I recommend visiting.

On the trip starting and ending in Christchurch, my sidekick and I drove, hiked, picked up travelers/hitchhikers (very common there), stayed in hostels, heated up instant mac ‘n cheese on a park bench in the rain and just soaked in all the scenery.

Church of the Good Shepherd - Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo. Church of the Good Shepherd. The church is right on the shores of the lake. The Southern Alps and snow-capped mountains make for an amazing back-drop. The church was built-in 1935. People from all over the world come here to get married with the romantic setting.

Aokaki - Mount Cook

Aokaki/Mount Cook. The highest peak in New Zealand, snow-capped of course. This is where Sir Edmund Hillary, a native, trained, prepping to climb Mount Everest. Hiking from the village where the hostel and hotel are, you reach Kea Point where you can get panoramic shots of several peaks simultaneously.

Queenstown

Queenstown. Known to a lot as the adventure (extreme sports) capital of the world. They’re also famous for there never-ending nightlife. Film crews come from all over the world to shoot scenes with the amazing backdrops around the lake. Music plays in the park along the water, along with lots of arts and crafts and people relaxing on the grass during the day. For wine lovers there are a lot of wineries in the region. Oh yeah, you gotta try a Fergburger, the best and biggest burger in New Zealand. I ate a little more than a third of mine. Don’t forget to get aioli when you get fries anywhere!

Lake Hawea

Wanaka, about an hour from Queenstown, is the perfect getaway if your into skiing in the winter months and water sports in the summer. It sits right on Lake Wanaka and is a very relaxing, small town. Lake Hawea, just northeast of Wanaka and shown above, is the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen. The blue water, mountain and cliff backdrop, just amazing. It’s a place you could just sit and look at in awe forever.

Walking to Fox Glacier

Fox/Franz Glacier. Fox and Franz Glacier are two small towns on the West Coast home to glaciers of the same name. We did the walk to the 13km long Fox Glacier. It has advanced some recently, after mainly retreating for a long time. Didn’t get the best shot of it due to the heavy rain, but taking the 45-minute round trip walk made me really think I was in Lord of the Rings. It’s one of the easiest glaciers to get to in the world and it ends in a rainforest slightly above sea level which is rare.

Okanto Beach - Tasman Sea - West Coast

West Coast/Greymouth. Greymouth is the biggest town on the West Coast which is extremely remote. Take the drive between Wanaka and here to see rainforest and dozens of water falls along the way. Lot’s of remote, secluded beaches like Okanto beach along the Tasman Sea as well.

Check out the rest of the photos of my trip around the South Island. So many more great places to see and go to in New Zealand. I’ll be back there very soon. Hope to see you there!