After my Christmas break in Milford sounds (including Boxing day off – as mentioned) I drove along the bottom of the country, stopping at Invercargill and Dunedin before turning (roughly) Northwards. After some confusion as to what I wanted to do (including stopping for New Years and having a sausage sandwich celebration) I headed for Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo. Both spots renowned as having good views and photography and stuff. Some of the views on the way to Mt Cook were fantastic, but for some reason I couldn’t quite capture them as I wanted – as a result I didn’t stop as much as I would in a more enthused state. However as you’ll soon see this wasn’t a problem.

I arrived at the small town also called Mount Cook and immediately got lost. Even though it’s a small place the sign posts are a bit confusing. Didn’t take me long to find a carpark and walk to the tourist information type place. I decided to go on the Sealy Tarns Track, a 3hr ‘challenging’ walk with promises of fantastic views. I started off with enthusiasm. However by the time I got to the turn from the main path to take this walk my enthusiasm had died and hunger had taken it’s place. I had a much better idea. I would do the shorter main track walk. Go back to the village, have lunch and do some blog writing and photo fiddling in the cafe and then head out to the ‘proper’ walk at a slightly late time in the hope of getting some better light. This is what I did.
It seemed like a good plan too, until I was on the walk. Problem 1 – I had no water. Problem 2 – I’d not paid any attention to the weather forecast and although there was no danger my photographic expectations were dashed:
Damn the clouds
Problem 3 – The challenge of the walk (it’s steepness) was not a problem, but the extremely vertiginous nature of the walk – ie the extremely steep drops right next to the dodge looking steps – caused me a lot of problems. As I’ve long maintained, I’m not afraid of heights but very afraid of drops – and this was a damn big drop. Unfortuantely these kind of things are basically impossible to get across in a photo, but I did try:
High
So after a while of hard walking I decided to turn around and go back down. This decision was ‘enhanced’ by the fact that I could see other people on the same walk who were a heck of a lot higher up the slope than I was.
I got back to my van and headed off, but here is where the advantage of having a van like this really shows – I stopped a few times to try and capture the views that I’d noticed on my way to Mt Cook:
Mt Cook
Pretty soon I decided to just stop, and spend the night waiting for the ideal picture, and then in the morning I would be able to have a crack at the morning magic hour too. Perfect. In the end I took 160 pics, and hopefully I’ve chosen some of the goodies for your viewing pleasure:
Mt Cook & plains
Mt Cook
Clouds above Mt Cook