New Zealand – March 29th

Continued from March 28th.

I did not photograph the sunrise or any morning light, a welcome change from getting up pre dawn for the past month. I drove northwest, stopping at the Gibbston valley cheesery (I do love cheese) and sampled some cheeses and local fruit juice. Delicious.  Then I proceeded to have one of the best days ever! 

You can purchase prints of these images and more from the south island here!

I also stopped at Roaring Meg falls/power plant and a copse of beautiful fall aspens. 

North of Lake Dunstan, the scenery was oddly fantastic with tall, steep hills and  desert-like valleys covered in only yellowish shrubbery and lupines. 

This is very New Zealand. 

I reached Lake Pukaki, one of the best places from which to see Mt Cook and the bluest lake in new Zealand, the one I’ve most wanted to see. Finally getting to see the tallest peak in NZ was awesome since I had missed it when I traveled down the west coast. I stopped at the information booth and found out that the next day was predicted to be cloudy, with rain possible.. so if I was going to visit Mt cook, it better be today! Oh boy, it was mid afternoon, and the drive to the base of all the trails was an hour. Hit it. 

On the drive, sunlight broke through the clouds and hit lake Pukaki and I burst into tears. I had to pull over and sob and jump around and take pictures. It was just so unimaginably beautiful, and such a dream for me to see it that way.

At the Mt. Cook visitor center, I found out the hike with the best views, Hooker Lake, would take a 3 hour return trip. It was 5pm! I basically jogged the whole way in. After three huge swing bridges, I was surrounded by only mountains, glaciers, boulders and shrubs. The peaks were stunning and there were a bazillion photos to be taken. 

 I came over the last ridge and -oh my god, Hooker lake reflecting Mt. Cook, with blue sky, late afternoon light on the snow caps, AND there were glacial icebergs floating in Hooker lake!! I was dumbfounded and thrilled and, shockingly, the only one there. Photos were taken.

 I watched, awestruck, as the mountain turned a glorious orange, brilliant pink, red. Long after sunset, the peak was still pink because it was so high.

The snowcap was still visible, more than an hour and a half after sunset, but it was time for me to drive the long way to the tiny town of Lake Tekapo, where I had camping reservations. To make a long story short, I found out that I was locked out of the gated campsite despite having called ahead. I had to wait for someone to come through and explain my situation and have them swipe my car in.  

You can purchase prints of these images and more from the south island here!

  1. Wow! Fantastic photos. Awesome you got to see and phottograph Mt Cook in the right light. The Hooker Valley is one of my favourite places!

  2. This is stunning photography, Lucy. It is so great to see the photos and read your comments and remember when I was at some of these places. Sigh.

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