Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

After five months of working in Melbourne, we boarded a plane headed for Christchurch New Zealand.  We arrived one week ago and were welcomed by lovely couchsurfing hosts with whom we went salsa dancing and shared conversation over jasmine tea.  The next day we picked up our campervan and started heading south.  The beginning of our trip was stunning.  We detoured to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and stayed several days longer than we planned because the hikes were excellent and the mountain scenery beautiful.  Our first night there were rain and strong winds that shook the van all night.  The weather was variable but we were lucky with several warm clear days in a row.

Mount Sefton and Mount Cook reflected in the Sealy Tarns
The challenging Mueller Hut track took us most of the day.  Starting at 800m and ending at 1800m this trail was very steep and tiring.  I stopped halfway up at the Sealy Tarns (above) and Nat continued to the hut at the summit.  This is the point where three mountain ranges converge and the valleys are filled with glaciers.

Mount Sefton range
This view of Mount Sefton was taken from close to the campground on another clear day.  We heard and witnessed several small avalanches on the mountainside probably caused by the heavy rain and wind of our first night.

Hooker Valley trail
The Hooker Valley trail was a winding three hour hike which led to the glacier separating Mount Sefton from Mount Cook.  Unfortunately both of our cameras were dead on the first day we did this hike.  We came back the next day and as we began the walk a massive cloud rolled in and sat right in front of the view of Mount Cook.

Cows and berries in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
As we left the park the afternoon sun was lighting up the mountain ranges and I had to stop to take pictures of cows grazing in front of the sweeping views.