My New Zealand Family Holiday: Day 7 KEA POINT on Mt COOK

As usual, we got our nightly rate’s stay worth of sleeping before checking out at 10am. With the exception of St Moritz in Queenstown, every hotel we’ve stayed in New Zealand had a 10am check-out. Unlike in Australia where you can ask for a late check-out, the hotel brochure advising an extra hourly charge of NZD20 for each hour over the check-out time, seems to indicate that almost none asks for this privilege.

A picture of the view from my hotel balcony at The Hermitage on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

How does anyone walk away from this view without taking a final picture? A A picture of the view from my hotel balcony on the morning of my check-out from The Hermitage on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

Once we had loaded our bags in the car and adjusted the laces on our shoes, we three musketeers set off  for Kea Point, a two-hour return trip on foot, to see the snout of the Mueller Glacier. With the path almost entirely flat, it was a fairly easy trek, but for the slabs of ice among the snow that made His Royal Highness slip and fall a couple of times.

A picture of me with The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand in the background.

Off we go! This is before stepping onto the Kea Point trek.

A picture of Mt Cook from the Kea Point track in New Zealand

This is just the start folks.

A picture of Mt Cook from the Kea Point track in New Zealand

In the shadow of nature’s awesomeness on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of HRH and Amanda on Mt Cook, trekking towards Kea Point.

A picture of HRH and Amanda on Mt Cook, trekking towards Kea Point.

A picture of HRH and Amanda on Mt Cook, trekking towards Kea Point.

Long, long, long way to go. I was beginning to wish we’d packed some crackers.

A picture of Amanda on Mt Cook from the Kea Point track in New Zealand

Still a long, long way to go. We’re only twenty minutes into the trek.

A picture of Mt Cook on our way towards Kea Point.

You might be able to see The Hermitage in the distance, now the size of an ant.

A picture of HRH nearing Kea Point on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

Wait, we’re almost there. I promise you it is so worth it.

A seat to admire the Mueller Glacier at Kea Point on Mt Cook.

About now, I was wishing for a mamak stall that sells Indian roti, curry and Milo. Or maybe just a toilet. All this snow around me made me want to pee.

A picture of the snout of Mueller Glacier from Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

Oh GAWD! We are here! I’d have done a victory dance except that by now I was deliriously hungry and tired. A picture of the snout of Mueller Glacier from Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of me at the snout of Mueller Glacier from Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand

A picture of me at the snout of Mueller Glacier from Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of the three of us at the snout of Mueller Glacier from Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand

Yay! We got there! Don’t ask me why I suddenly look so fat.

By the time we reached Kea Point, we were so exhilarated that we forgot our tiredness and lack of breakfast that morning. We met Jeff and his family, cattle farmers from North Canterbury, visiting Mt Cook for a couple of days. They told us about 5am milking of cows, killing sick livestock and having neighbours who live kilometres away. As a city girl, I found it all very fascinating. It was a window into a world I have no association with and experience of. Certainly, it surprised me to hear of Jeff crying after the slaughter of a cow.

A picture of two cattle farmers we had a chat with at Kea Point on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

Jeff and his boy. Two friendly cattle farmers we had a chat with at Kea Point on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

Once our batteries were recharged, we attempted the hike back to our car outside The Hermitage. Like most journeys, going back seemed a lot faster than getting there.

A picture of HRH heading to The Hermitage, after our hour-long walk to Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

HRH at the beginning of the trek back to The Hermitage.

A picture of HRH and Amanda heading back to The Hermitage, after our hour-long walk to Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of HRH and Amanda heading back to The Hermitage, after our hour-long walk to Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of our path heading back to The Hermitage, after our hour-long walk to Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of our path heading back to The Hermitage, after our hour-long walk to Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of Amanda with the sign board on the way back to our car at The Hermitage after our trek to Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of Amanda with the sign board on the way back to our car at The Hermitage after our trek to Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of HRH and Amanda on the way back to our car at The Hermitage after our trek to Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

It was such a humbling experience to be so small in nature, surrounded by all that snow.

A picture of Amanda on the way back to our car at The Hermitage after our trek to Kea Point on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

I was so proud of Amanda to walk all that way without complaining. She was such a trooper!

A picture of Mt Cook on New Zealand.

How lucky am I? Beauty, every which way you look.

A picture of HRH and Amanda on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

At the half-way point. I recognised where we were by the pile of rocks there. There is another, not pictured.

A picture of HRH and Amanda on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of me on Mt Cook, New Zealand

A rare snap of the photographer. Grimace on face says, “I’m so bloody hungry and tired.”

A picture of Amanda resting on her way back to The Hermitage on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

A picture of Amanda resting on her way back to The Hermitage on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

 

 

 

My New Zealand Family Holiday: Day 7 WANAKA TO Mt COOK

By Estella

After spending 3 hours at Puzzling World, His Royal Highness, Amanda and I hit the road once again. This time we were headed for the tallest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook, where His Royal Highness had us booked into the swankiest hotel there, The Hermitage. On special at NZD169  through www.wotif.com , it was only NZD4 more than The Brookvale Motel in Wanaka but was a million times more comfortable to live in.

We went down route 8a, after which past Tarras, a small blink and you’ll miss it town, we turned into route 8. We passed the famous Lindis Pass, a road in the shadow of high mountain ranges before arriving at Omarama, then going on to Twizel.

A picture of traveling on route 8a in New Zealand.

Travelling along route 8a in New Zealand.

A picture of traveling on route 8a in New Zealand.

A beautiful winter’s day on the road.

A picture of traveling on route 8a in New Zealand.

Southern Alps at the horizon. It looks near but it was actually several hours away by car.

Pictures just don’t do justice to the jaw-dropping beauty of New Zealand in winter. The way the land is shrouded in mist, with light seeping through around the edges, is something you have to see at least once in your life. It’s pure poetry for the eyes and fodder for the imagination.

A picture of winter in New Zealand's South Island.

Notice the poor visibility? This picture was taken about two in the afternoon. We were between Omarama and Twizel.

A picture of winter in New Zealand's South Island.

Still on the road towards Twizel. See how beautiful the midday sun looks, high above the windswept moors, through the fog?

A picture of winter in New Zealand's South Island.

We were now past Twizel, nearing Lake Pukaki. The trees reminded me of a storybook Christmas.

A picture of winter in New Zealand's South Island.

I don’t care what the bona fide photographers say about the lighting. I love it. It’s so ethereal, so otherworldly.

A picture of Lake Pukaki on the road towards Mt Cook in New Zealand.

We’re almost there. A picture of Lake Pukaki on the road towards Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of Lake Pukaki on the road towards Mt Cook in New Zealand.

Those are clouds floating above Lake Pukaki, half an hour away from Mt Cook.

A picture of the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

Our car was climbing towards Mt Cook. The white things at the back are the Southern Alps.

A picture of the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

Have you seen anything more amazing? That’s the Southern Alps in the distance.

A picture of the area around Lake Pukaki, in New Zealand, in winter.

That’s a dry creek bed but beautiful all the same.

A picture of the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

We’re almost there.  A picture of the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

A picture of the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

We’re on the home stretch. The Hermitage is less than half a kilometre away.

Accommodation on Mt Cook ranges from backpackers’ hostel to cabins to motel and hotel rooms. We had a reservation at The Hermitage for a room with a view of the Southern Alps.

A picture of some of the cabins in the village on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

A picture of some of the cabins in the village on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

A picture of HRH outside The Hermitage Hotel on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

We’re here! A picture of HRH outside The Hermitage Hotel on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

A picture of me on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

It was FREEZING. A picture of me outside The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of HRH and Amanda on our hotel balcony at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand

A picture of HRH and Amanda on our hotel balcony at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of Amanda looking out on the Southern Alps from our hotel balcony on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

A picture of Amanda looking out on the Southern Alps from our hotel balcony on Mt Cook, New Zealand.

A picture of our room at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of our room at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of me on the balcony of our hotel room at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A souvenir shot of my time on Mt Cook. It’s not every day that you wake up with the Southern Alps at your window.

A picture of Amanda watching telly in our hotel room on Mt Cook, New Zeala

As usual, Amanda found the remote control to the TV. She’s on the floor having a pre-dinner snack of cookies.

Since The Hermitage is reputed to have one of the most awarded restaurants in New Zealand, with fresh produce coming from the surrounding areas, we opted to dine in-house that night. Our other alternative was to find an eatery in the Mt Cook village.

A picture of us in the restaurant at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of the three of us in the restaurant at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of the restaurant at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

A picture of the restaurant at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

For a much-lauded eatery in a tourist destination, the prices were reasonable, although I should mention, far from cheap. It only cost a couple of dollars more to order a main there than it would have at somewhere like Lake Tekapo. Our dinner that night came to NZD94, but for that, we had two serves of pan fried, locally-farmed salmon on citrus-infused risotto and Amanda had pasta with loads of finely grated well-aged Parmesan. I’m not usually a fan of rice in any form, but the risotto was very delicious.

A picture of our dinner at The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

Locally-farmed pan fried salmon on a bed of citrus-infused risotto.

A picture of Amanda and her pasta at the restaurant in The Hermitage on Mt Cook in New Zealand.

Amanda was very pleased with her pasta. The waitress brought her MORE CHEESE upon request. She was chuffed.