Dark Caves and High Mountains

After we spent one week with a lovely family in Greymouth we went again on the road. At the beginning we did a hike to a secluded romantic cabin in the mountains of Arthur’s Pass National Park. We were surrounded by wild forests and Tussock grass, and had a fantastic view over the valley. After we had cooked a delicious dinner by the fire, we went into the bunk bed. As a precaution, we hang our food on a wire, as we already suspected mice. But in the middle of the night we were awakened by a rustling, and when I switched on my lamp and shone it on the hanging bag of food, I looked into the eyes of a cheeky mouse. Guilty an caught she climbed out of the bag and balanced along the wire back into her hiding. It was like in the circus! The next day we made a detour to a mountain ridge and enjoyed the view of the snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps.

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After this we went straight on to the next highlight, another cave hike, this time with a river flowing through it (Broken River). The whole track took about an hour and was super exciting. And we could finally use our wet suits.

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Immediately after this we went to the Castle Hills, a hill with huge, freestanding limestone rocks, which is a real climbing paradise. After a short circular walk we headed towards Edoras, the capital of Rohan from Lord of the Rings movies. To get there our poor Elvis had to endure 50 km on gravel road, but it was worth it. Enjoying the view of the valley, we felt a bit like Eowyn and Aragorn.
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After this excursion into the world of myth, we went to the two azure lakes Tekapo and Pukaki, where we hiked a bit and admired the incredible colors in the water. Finally it was time to go to the Mt. Cook National Park, the highest mountain in New Zealand. The first day we took a challenging walk along the Tasman Glacier, the longest in New Zealand. But this was just the right introduction for our great mountain track on the next day.

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On that, we climbed the 1,933 m high Mt. Olivier, with a stop at the Mueller Hut. On the way, we enjoyed an unfortunately lightly hazy view of Mt Cook and watched huge avalanches parting from the nearby glacier. The way back was more strenuous and longer than expected and we were glad to be able to crawl in the evening in our cozy van.

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The next day we briefly visited Queenstown, what was after all the untouched nature not very exciting, and we left fast to go on our way to the French goat farm.