Mountainous Monday,  New Zealand

Mountainous Monday: Mount Cook / Aoraki

Welcome to what is already the 4th Mountainous Monday. Today we’re sharing the New Zealand’s highest mountain with you. We didn’t plan to as we featured a New Zealand mountain before, but that’s sometimes just the way things go…

Mount Cook /Aoraki is located in the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s Southern Island. The English name was given to the mountain by Captain John Lort Stokes to honor Captain James Cook who first surveyed and circumnavigated New Zealand back in the 18th century. Aoraki is the Maori name and there are various stories about the meaning. The one we were told is that the name means “cloud piercer”, which we think is a very suiting one.

The summit

Mount Cook / Aoraki can be viewed from various places. When traveling down south along the west coast of the island, most people will first see the mountain in reflection of Lake Matheson, near Fox Glacier. When the water is still and the weather is clear, Reflection Pond gives a perfect mirror view of both Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.

Reflection Pond in Lake Matheson

When driving to Mt. Cook National Park from Christchurch, you will pass by Tekapo. When taking the road up here to the park, you will pass one of the bluest lakes ever seen: Lake Pukaki, but be sure to take the minor road and not the number 8 main road. From here, you may see Mt. Cook towering in the distance.

Lake Pukaki

The best place however to observe the mountain from is in Mt. Cook Village. From here, you can do various trails that will all give you the most impressive views. You can even camp with a view and the well trained can attempt to summit it (with a guide of course). For things to do in Mount Cook National Park, please see our 24 hours in Mt. Cook post.

Mount Cook valley
Hooker Valley

During our first trip to New Zealand back in 2002 we had poor weather and never got to see Mount Cook / Aoraki. Luckily, 2011 made up and we had all kinds of views on this incredible mountain.

Today’s Mountainous Monday is dedicated to a person we cared about a lot. She passed away at the age of 32 completely unexpectedly last weekend (not in the MH17 flight). May you rest in peace, we know you loved the mountain as much as we do!

“I don’t believe in painted roses
Or bleeding hearts
While bullets rape the night of the merciful
I’ll see you again
When the stars fall from the sky
And the moon has turned red
Over One Tree Hill” 

One Tree Hill – U2



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