At the foot of Mount Cook

At the foot of Mount Cook

Greetings from Aoraki Mount Cook village at the foot of Mount Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand and Australasia outside Papua New Guinea.

After I arrived in New Zealand I was in doubt if it was a good decision to come there considering it was five minutes to winter. I was longing to be in Fiji instead. But on day 308 of my round the world trip my doubts started to fade.

Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo
Lake Pukaki

I resumed my hitchhiking escapade after a two week break. I had been told New Zealand was an easier country to do that than Australia. Well, here’s the story of the day.

I left Phillip’s place (he was my couchsurfing host) at 8.30. It was cold and gloomy. And when I started hitchhiking it was drizzling so I was getting wet. But I got a ride in less than two minutes! Wooooow. It was only to a large town 75 km away but I was thrilled. But then I had to wait for the second ride for almost an hour. But it happened. And the third and fourth were just a short wait away!

Getting closer and closer to the Mount Cook village
A short stop to take funny pictures
A short stop to take funny pictures

Everyone was of a different nationality. A New Zealander. A guy from Zimbabwe (I been there!), two guys from India (I been there!), one of whom was a chef going to an interview and the last ride was with a family of five from Malaysia (I been there too!). The family was amazing. They stopped a few times to take photos and so I had an opportunity to take a few snaps myself. They reminded me of the great hospitality and helpfulness of people in Malaysia when I had hitch hiked there too.

So it took four rides and a better part of the day to get to the Mount Cook village. It was approximately 320 km. The bus would have cost me 215 dollars. That’s what I call a prohibitive price. In the life of a backpacker anyway.

Hooker Valley Track
Looking back at where I hiked from
Hooker Lake
Hooker Lake and Mount Cook somewhere up there where the sun is shining

And the scenery? Stunning. Lake Tekapo. Lake Pukaki. Mt. Cook and the surrounding mountains.

I hiked along the Hooker Trail the following day and the hike rocked my world. Not only was the weather fantastic, with clear blue sky above my head, but also the scenery was breathtaking. In addition, there were very few people hiking on that day. I highly recommend the hike. It’s not at all challenging as one hikes on almost flat terrain.

Again I was so lucky!

A river flowing out of Hooker Lake
One of the suspension bridges along the track
The river flowing down the valley
Mueller Lake
Mueller Lake

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