Wow, wow, wow! Hopefully the pictures and videos speak for themselves. We must have taken over 300 between us here. What a special place.By far, in our opinion, the most impressive glaciers and mountain scenery we have seen. We felt extremely lucky to see Mt Cook in it’s full glory the whole time we were there.... not always the case in this changeable alpine environment, apparently. Even just the drive up towards the Hermitage was spectacular - the Hermitage is the hub from which to do all the many adventure activities from, and where you can sit back afterwards and enjoy a drink and the ambience of the area. It is in fact a hotel, but also encompasses a Planetarium, a museum, a tour desk, and a Cafe and restaurant, and is the starting place for a lot of the walks and hikes around the area.
We chose the Hooker Valley walk which was approximately 3hrs return and took us through the middle of the mountains with huge glaciers on either side of us. It was a very easy and flat walk and one of the most picturesque we have been on. We even heard the boom of an ice fall echoing around us and saw the plume of ‘ice crystals’ in the aftermath! The walk led us to Lake Hooker, which to our surprise and awe was filled with icebergs, both large and small. What a sight! We arrived fairly early and the morning mist was just lifting up from the lake, giving it an eerie feel. We had the lake to ourselves too and it was so peaceful.
Later that day, we took a ride on Glacier Encounters ’speedboat out onto a different lake at the base of the Tasman Glacier, to getup close and personal with the ice bergs! One of them was huge and apparently had broken off and been floating around for a couple of months. Every few days, it turns itself over in the water. Pretty incredible. We could only see about a tenth of the iceberg too as almost all of it lies hidden underwater. We didn’t get too close to that one in case it decided to do its turn whilst we were there, which could result in us being hit by the tsunami it would create and plunging us into the icy water! Fun fact...the highest wave recorded in that particular lake was in 2018 when a large chunk calved off the glacier and created an 11 metre wave .... exciting stuff!! So we carried on cruising until we came across a smaller ice berg that posed no threat to us. We were able to touch it and feel it’s glassy exterior, and even break a bit off and drink it!
CHECK OUT OUR HIGHLIGHTS ON THE ROAD TO MOUNT COOK IN THE VIDEO BELOW!