The phrase most frequently uttered today by each of us was “Oh my God,” followed by “what a view.” This part of New Zealand is, quite simply, stunningly beautiful. We were blessed by a bright and clear day as we drove to Mount Cook Village at the base of the country’s highest peak. It is where Sir Edmund Hillary honed his mountaineering skills prior to his ascent of Everest. There is an Alpine center in his name and his visage is everywhere. The mountain is in the center of the image above as viewed across Lake Pukaki.

I’m going to largely let the pictures tell the story today as my words really can’t adequately describe how beautiful this region is. We stayed essentially in a valley surrounded by mountains. We went on a two-hour walk on the Hooker Valley trail, and after wearing ourselves out dined at our hotel, The Hermitage. Our dinner was super and the view excellent; likely to get a good Trip Advisor review later. We started the day with a drive up to the St. John’s observatory outside of Lake Tekapo. The switchbacks on the drive up had Pat sweating but it really wasn’t that bad.

Photos of the day follow. The first five are all from today’s walk, which featured three swaying suspension bridges across a gorge. Tomorrow brings a glacier tour, so hoping for more good images.

View from St. John observatory hill. Lake Tekapo village is on the right.


  1. Jim

    wow!! I especially am amazed at the photo right below the one of Pat

    it doesn’t look like it could possibly be real and that the two of you are actually looking at this masterpiece of nature

    love love love all of these photos


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    • I imagine it will be quite similar, from the white-knuckle roads to the expensive but so-so lodging. I wonder if they have guardrails in the US??


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