On a short trip to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, staying in Mt Cook Village, we photographed just a slice of the scenery as it was, in the summer of 2012.
At 3754 metres (12316 feet), Aoraki Mt Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain. This is the South Face, showing the low peak, one of three peaks of the mountain. The lenticular cloud seen here (hogsback) is an indicator of high winds at altitude. This photo was taken from Mt Cook Village.
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In another of her moods, she lives up to her Maori name (Aoraki), which means ‘cloud piercer’. Photo taken from the Kea Point Track, at about 700 metres. This is a colour photo.
This walk is less than two hours return from the Mt Cook Village. Here it provides views of the hanging glaciers and icefalls of Mt Sefton.
At the end of the Kea Point Track, there is a picturesque view of Aoraki Mt Cook (peeking out of the cloud), and the lateral moraine wall of the Mueller Glacier, cutting across the Hooker Valley. The grey-coloured water is direct from the Mueller Glacier. In the blue-coloured water, the sediment has had time to settle out.
Kayakers can be seen from the Kea Point lookout. Visitors can spend three hours on this guided kayaking trip on the Mueller Glacier Lake.
The Hooker Valley walk is accessed at the same point as the Kea Point walk. This is the first bridge on the track, just 15 minutes from the carpark. This lookout gives another view of the terminal lake at the end of the Mueller Glacier, cutting into the Hooker Valley. In the background are hanging glaciers descending off Mt Sefton’s Footstool.
The Red Tarns Track winds high above the village, about two hours return up some steep steps. The tarns (small lakes or pools) have actually dried up this summer, but the view of the valley below is well worth the effort. Mid photo in the skyline is the Copland Pass. On the left is The Footstool again. Aoraki Mt Cook is on the right (the top in cloud). The green hillock in the centre of the photo is glacial moraine (rocks) deposited by the Mueller Glacier during The Little Ice Age (1400 – 1900 AD). The village can be seen directly below. The larger grey building is The Hermitage Hotel. Some 20,000 years ago, this whole valley was covered 700 metres deep in ice.
The Glencoe Stream Walk is a zigzagging hill walk of only 30 minutes, accessed from behind the Hermitage Hotel. It emerges to this bird’s eye view of the valley and Aoraki Mt Cook with the white ice of the Hooker Glacier visible at her foot.
A major terminal lake has been growing in the Tasman Valley. The first sinkholes appeared in the retreating ice about 1960. The water is held there by the Tasman terminal rock moraine which was deposited during The Little Ice Age from about 1400 to 1900 AD. Icebergs break off the rubble-covered ice at the head of the lake just behind the water.
Icebergs float down the lake, driven by violent nor’west storms.
The Blue Lakes, actually green these days, have formed amongst moraine walls in the lower Tasman Valley.
This photo was taken from the Mt Cook Village, looking across the Tasman Valley.