Sunday, April 14, 2019

New Zealand Road Trip 2018 ✈ Mt. Cook & Lake Tekapo

Our 5th anniversary adventure brought us through 4 seasons and 2 new countries within 2 weeks. Started our trip hanging out with friends in San Francisco, followed by a relaxing getaway in Fiji, and ended the trip with a 10-day road trip across New Zealand. I'll share more about our adventures in the next few posts. Follow along!

New Zealand 10D9N Road Trip:
Day 1: Hokitika
Day 3: Milford Sound
Day 4: Glenorchy
Day 5: Queenstown
Day 7: Christchurch
Day 8: Wellington
Day 10: Auckland

Dec 2 (Sun): Queenstown - Hooker Valley Track - Lake Pukaki - Lake Tekapo - Church of the Good Sheppard - Christchurch (600kms)

After 4 nights in Queenstown, it was finally time to bid goodbye to this scenic city and continue our journey back to Christchurch and complete our anti-clockwise drive around the South Island, before flying to the North Island. This was one of the longest driving days during our trip with lots of grounds to cover. Fortunately, we were both well rested and ready to rock and roll after two relaxing days.

Knowing that we had a long day ahead, we checked out of the hotel and left Queenstown at 5.40am and was greeted by this magnificent sunrise.

Quick photo stop at Kawarau Gorge. I mentioned in my previous post that New Zealand road signs are very clear and helpful, including the signs for scenic spots, which explains a lot of the random unplanned photo stops we had during the road trip.

Vineyards at the town of Cromwell.

Rolling hills (and loud sheep) along the Lindis Pass-Tarras Road.

Lindis Pass in Waitaki district is one of the most scenic roads in New Zealand.

Scenic drives like this make the long drive much more pleasant and enjoyable.

Colorful Lupin near Omarama town. Our trip was at the end of Nov - early Dec, which was the peak lupin blooming season. The purples and pinks flowers make the already-stunning views even more incredible. Here's a helpful post if you're interested in Lupin-spotting.

Lake Pukaki with perfection reflection of the clouds.

The famous Mount Cook road with Aoraki / Mt Cook peeking through the clouds.

Made it to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park at 9.15am. We're both not big hikers so this was the only hike we planned for this trip. The Hooker Valley Track is 10km round-trip and takes approximately 3 hours (took us 2.5 hours). It's a fairly easy and flat hike/walk. 

Excited to begin our hike...or maybe not? 

Glad that the clouds cleared a lil' during our hike, giving us a better view of Mt. Sefton.

View of the Mueller glacier lake from the Mueller Lookout.

There are a total of 3 swingbridges along the hike which makes for good photo stops. 

If you don't want other people in your pictures (like us), go to the 2nd or 3rd bridge. =P

Another viewpoint of Mueller glacier lake.

Gorgeous scenery the entire way...snow-capped mountains, flowing rivers, lush valley meadows, and glacial lakes. Too bad Mt. Cook was hiding behind the clouds.

Finally...made it to the Hooker Glacier Lake lookout point after one hour! Took a break to enjoy the view and had some drinks and snacks before making our way back.

Some 'action' shots on our way back.

Goodbye Mt. Cook!

Drove by the beautiful turquoise Lake Pukaki, with colorful lupins on both sides of the roads. Stopped by NZ Alpine Lavender farm but it's not lavender season yet.

One of the most photographed lake in New Zealand....turquoise Lake Tekapo.

More lupin flowers!!

Church of the Good Sheppard with impressive backdrop of Lake Tekapo.

Last few photos before we big goodbye to this beautiful region and continue our 3-hour drive towards Christchurch.

Made it to Christchurch at 5.30pm and stopped by Pakn'Save to grab some food for dinner before checking into our hotel - Chateau on the Park DoubleTree Christchurch. More photos of the hotel in the next post.

That's all for day 6 of our road trip in New Zealand. Stay tuned for the next post! As a token of appreciation for scrolling through this long post, here's our map and itinerary to help you plan for your New Zealand adventure! Click on the top right 'square' to open in Google Maps.

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