After collecting our hire car from Christchurch airport, we headed off in a south-easterly direction towards Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand at 3754m. Along the way we passed the beautiful turquoise water of Lake Tekapo, but the most stunning views were along Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook sitting majestically at the head of the lake.
The road to Mount Cook village follows the western shore of Lake Pukaki with the peak surrounded by the Mount Cook National Park, a World Heritage site. The scenery here is magnificent with the alpine peaks, large lakes, tarns, waterfalls, streams and rivers as well as the mighty Tasmin Glacier, New Zealand’s largest at 28km long and 3kms wide.
At the foot of Mount Cook is the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, as well as the main accommodation centre which looks like many alpine villages around the world.
The very top of the mountain was shrouded with cloud during our visit, but the drive up to Aoraki/Mount Cook was truly spectacular with many designated stopping places along the way.