Summer will be over soon here, so we decided it was time to see more of New Zealand. We picked Aoraki Mt. Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand. I was told I should make reservations for a campsite, and the first place I found was http://www.laketekapoholidaypark.com/ with a full range of naturist activities. But the ratings were not good, so we went to Land Benmore Holiday Park which provided your own bathroom including shower for each campsite. (Campgrounds in NZ are called Holiday Parks, and always provide central kitchen facilities.)
We started hiking up one trail, and then looked down on a swinging bridge. Sally said “no way am a going to cross that”, so we backtracked and did a different trail.
We ended up hiking to the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier view. This was spectacular because of the icebergs in the lake which had recently calved off of the Tasman Glacier. I did a half-hour scramble to a nearby prominence which turned out to the the endpoint of another branch of the trail.
The next day, I decided that it was time for me to do a real hike, and I decided to hike to Sealy Tarns and on to the Mueller Hut if I had time.
The trail to Sealy Tarns goes up a very steep hillside, and it used to have steps all the way up. Now almost half of the steps have washed out. Sealy Tarns is a very small (50 ft by 20 ft) glacial pothole on the side of the mountain.
After 2 hours of steady climbing (about 3000 vertical feet), I reached the pass where it leveled out. There were spectacular views of glaciers. Also, nice wildflowers.
The next pictures are of Mueller Hut. The DOC (Department of Conservation, not Dartmouth Outing Club) runs many huts all over the country. It is in the “serviced alpine” category with outhouses, water, light, cooking facilities, and a hut host. It must be prebooked at the visitor center and costs $37 NZ per person per night.
The Mueller hut is the fifth in a series dating back to 1915. The materials for some previous huts were dropped by parachute, this one must be serviced by helicopter.