Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day seven 15th February 2008

So after a wet but comfortable night, we packed everything up and headed back to Mt Cook village, for another visit to the information centre, where I bought a merino hat and some polyprop gloves and a map of the area. This brought our kit up to the standard we needed for the walk we had planned up to the Hooker Glacier. This is quite a long walk, but is quite 'touristy', being for the most part a well made track, with board walks and swing bridges etc.

Along the way we saw some superb examples of NZ alpine plants and flowers.

It was a bit of a grey bleak day at first, so there weren't many good shots of the glacier, and as the glacier is retreating we didn't actually get that close. So I have included a picture of me to make up for it!

The weather cleared up on the way back, and we started to get some superb views of the mountains around, and the various glaciers. This one is high up on the side of Mt Sefton (3151metres).

We had a light lunch at a cafe in Mt Cook village, and then set off to Tekapo.

When we had arrived at Mt Cook, the tops had been a bit bare of snow, but the night of rain at campsite level, was a night of snow just a couple of hundred metres higher, and the tops were a picture on the way out of the Lake Pukaki valley.

At Tekapo, we visited the Mt John observatory. The main activity at Mt John is a joint venture between Nagoya University and several NZ Universities (Auckland, Canterbury, Massey and Victoria in Wellington) called the Japan-New Zealand MOA group (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics). They use the gravitational effects of massive objects to detect planets around other systems in the Universe. We were given an excellent guided tour of the facility, and we had a cup of coffee and a cake!

The rest of the day was taken up with driving via Fairlie to Geraldine, where we had a meal of the most disgusting fish and chips ever. We had parked opposite the town's real fish and chip shop and not seen it, and ended up at a chinese takeaway. What a mistake!

We stayed in a cabin at the Mt Somner holiday park. Fairly cheap, but not up to much! Not a good nights sleep!

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