On Monday afternoon I arrived in Mt Cook, taking only a couple of hours on the bus. I changed into my walking gear, and went out. As most of the walks here are 3+ hours, I did a couple of smaller ones, saving the 3+ hour ones for my full days.
In the morning I did the Hooker Valley track, taking roughly three hours. The track is 5km long, with an incline of 120m, so a nice easy one, with great scenery the whole way too.
Over the past few years I’ve learnt to not get too excited and exhaust myself on the first day. Instead of going on another walk I went back to the hostel for some dinner, and had a chat with the people in the dorm.
On Wednesday morning I chose to do a track called Sealy Tarns. It’s dubbed as the ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ with over 2,200 steps, with a 600m height gain. The name is a bit sugarcoated as whilst it is a spectacular view from the top, I felt as though I needed an oxygen tent up there after getting to the viewpoint.
Like you would with a four-year-old child, I used the incentive of having a cookie at the end of the stairs. There was no visibility at the top, but after an hour everything cleared up and the view was spectacular. Well worth the effort to get there.
I left Mt Cook for Queenstown on Thursday, but not before fitting a cheeky hike in before the bus in the afternoon. It ended up being the perfect day to go hiking – blue skies all morning. Unforunately I was out of cookies and chocolate to use as an incentive to climb up more steps, but managed to do without.
Mt Cook was one of the places I wanted to visit the most whilst in New Zealand. It’s been well worth the wait. The weather couldn’t have been better, and some nice roommates too. The only downside has been that the dorm did have quite the smell with 8 peoples’ hiking boots in the evenings.