Mt Cook and Hooker Valley

We just got back from a couple weeks exploring the South Island of New Zealand with some friends. It was an amazing trip and the scenery was absolutely stunning.  We flew into Christchurch and headed south towards Wanaka.  Our first stop was to take in the turquoise water of Lake Tekapo, a lake formed from the runoff of the nearby glaciers.

Lake Tekapo
Church of the Good Shepard at Lake Tekapo
Bridge over Lake Tekapo
Farther south, Lake Pukaki was even more stunning with the Mt Cook Glacier in the background.  
Enjoying the view of the lake
We decided to drive along the lake the following morning and check out the Hooker Valley Track near Mt Cook.  The 45 minute drive gave us incredible views along the way.
Driving around Lake Pukaki with Mt Cook in the distance
We started on the track mid morning when the path was still covered in shade.  The view from the start was impressive and made us really excited to get going.
View from the start of the track
There were three suspension bridges along the walk, which were not fun for Phil's vertigo.  We tried to time it to let the others around go ahead and then I walked behind him in sync to minimise the extra movement.  He always has to stop briefly after a bridge like that to let the world stop spinning.
First of the suspension bridges
The sun rising over the canyon
Heading up the canyon towards the glacier
Waterfall disappearing into the hill
It was a really enjoyable walk, the path was well maintained and down every turn was a better view.
Beautiful colour pallet
The glaciers in the background
The path along the track
The path ends at a glacial lake near the base of the glacier.  There were even some chunks of ice floating in the lake.  I had originally thought the hike was 5 km total, but when we got to the end we realised it was 5 km each way.  Worth every step, and with all of the driving we needed a good walk anyway.
Ice in the glacial lake
Happy hikers
Glacial lake
zooming in on the glacier
ice in the lake - that blue ice is what makes those other lakes so pretty!
so impressive
Phil with Mt Cook in the background
looking back down the canyon

Another suspension bridge
Driving back down around the lake, we had to stop to take in the views again.  Amazing.
Lake Pukaki
Lake Pukaki with Mt Cook in the background
We then headed on towards Wanaka, our stop for the next few days.

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