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Aoraki/Mt. Cook, New Zealand – Day 1

February 25, 2023

Theresa and Josh went to the grocery store while I slept in a little bit. We’re all struggling from jet lag but ours are on different schedules since we came 6 hours from opposite directions. They made some sandwiches and away we went to Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park.

This was Josh’s first turn in the driver’s seat. He did pretty good, but also did the wiper wave instead of a turn signal a few times. We made many scenic stops on our drive-in because the bright blue lake, the yellow fields of grass, and the white mountains in the distance were too much for us to wait.

After stopping at the visitor center, we went to the Hooker Valley trail. It’s an easy 10 kilometer trail that took us through the valley to a glacier lake at the base of Mount Cook. We crossed three suspension bridges over the glacial river. A New Zealand man on the trail corrected us when we called it a hike, telling us the appropriate term here is tramping.

From there, we drove a short distance to the Blue Lakes and the Tasman Glacier Viewpoint. We climbed a few stairs before we reached the top, found some comfortable rocks, and had a late lunch. We watched some inflatable powerboats take guests to glacial icebergs in the lake below. The glaciers here are drastically receded, but not quite as bad as Glacier National Park.

What’s left of the glacier is under the black gravel at the far end of the lake

Having gotten lots of sun in today’s 65° full sun weather, we went back to our house. We were hosting some guests that I met in Mexico last year. We picked up chicken, brats, potatoes, salad, and Marmite, a New Zealand specialty. While some would describe it as a delicacy, Theresa considers it more like concentrated soy sauce or a beef bouillon cube. She found out by thickly spreading it on toast before coughing and choking it down with a glass of water.

Jess, Michael and their two friends, Stephanie and Heidi, came over around 7:30 for dinner. We had a great time meeting each other and sharing travel tips over some barbecue, cheese and wine. Michael has lived in New Zealand for over 10 years, so he gave us lots of tips. He also told us the right way to eat Marmite, which is a very thin layer on toast or crackers. Everyone declined trying it 🙂

I forgot to get a picture of all of us.

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