Backpacking New Zealand (Part 3) - Mountain Cook

9:17 PM

I'm not sure if this is what you call a writer's block, but I've been staring into this empty white space for a while now, writing and then deleting and then writing again, because I can't quite decide on how I should start my third post on New Zealand. This has never really happened before...

But whatever let's skip it. Here's part three of my backpacking trip, where I spent my second day in New Zealand at Mountain Cook!

Mountain Cook was my second destination after a night a Tekapo, and it's about a few hours on the Intercity bus to get there. As the name suggests, it's located up in the mountains and fun fact: they only have a permanent population of 250!! That's really little, considering how big Mt Cook is.

But after staying there for a night, I guess I can kind of understand why... There were hardly any stores up in the mountains, not even a supermarket. I didn't read up on that earlier cause I assumed that their village might have some sort of market or grocery store but no they don't?? I guess the people living there have to drive to town to get their groceries.

Because I didn't do any research prior to my arrival at Mt Cook, I was left with one serving of pasta before I departed Tekapo... So that meant starving for dinner since I only had one meal to last me the entire duration of my trip there.
Thankfully though, I had really nice dorm mates who offered to share with me their food!

Upon reaching Mt Cook, the overcast weather and light showers were hardly welcoming. I had to wait around the hostel for quite some time before the rain lets up. But during that time, I made my first friends in NZ (two female Malaysians by the names of Elly and Belle)!! They happened to be in the same Intercity bus and dorm room as me and we got along almost instantly (maybe because geographically we live so near? LOL).
We then decided to trek together later on when the weather got better. They were a really friendly and approachable pair throughout the time I spent with them. They always offered me food and shared with me their travel stories etc.

There are quite a number of treks on Mt Cook. I'm not experienced so I didn't go for any tramping that was on rough terrains. I would love to do so the next time though heh.
We went for the Hooker Valley Track, which takes about three hours return if you were to walk all the way to the end point at the Hooker lake. It took us four hours though, since we had to walk some distance from our YHA hostel to the start point of the track.

That trek was probably the most exhausting of all the treks I've done while I was in New Zealand because of the bad weather. The wind was so strong and merciless it even broke umbrellas lol.
I remember wanting to give up halfway cause it was starting to get too cold and it was so wet and I only had my hood as shelter but we braved through the storm till the very end!! I am so thankful to have my dorm mates to do the trek together cause we really did push each other to reach the end.

The end point featuring the Hooker lake.

Sadly though, the pictures don't do the Hooker Valley Track much justice ): The rain was so bad I didn't want my 6D baby to get drenched so I didn't take it out much. Plus, it was really cloudy so the colours on camera turned out kind of dull??
Still, it's one of the tracks with stunning views it's worth the while.

We also got a hitch hike from a Taiwanese couple back to our hostel when we went back to the start point. That's our very first hitch hike and omg thank god for them kind souls cause our legs have exhausted themselves for all their worth fighting against the terrible winds.

The night ended pretty early cause it gets really dark up in the mountains. We went out in hope to stargaze but there wasn't any ):

The next morning though, the weather was perfect!! The skies were so blue, and the temperature was at about thirteen degrees which kinda makes it the optimum weather to trek in, but we were bound for departure in the afternoon -__-

Some kiwis (it's only 4 for 90cents in NZ!!!) from the dorm mates for breakfast just because LOL.

Anyway I really loved the photoset taken in Mt Cook and I hope you do too!!

Later in the afternoon, I went on separate ways from the Malaysian friends I spent about an entire day with. Our next destination was different, but we did exchange our contacts in hopes that we could cross paths again if we were to go to the same town in the next couple of days.

While I was back in Singapore, I did come up with an itinerary on the places I wanted to visit, and the days I was going to do so but I hardly followed it at all.
Many of the highly raved spots in New Zealand require you to join tours. I had money constraints, so I decided to give them a pass. But I believe I'll return to New Zealand again so the tours and thrill activities can be for next time when I have more money haha.

I picked a random stop from the list of stops the Intercity buses would drop passengers at to spend the night! I guess I shouldn't have done that especially since NZ could get way too quiet at some places... I sincerely regretted that night when the mountaintop was deafeningly silent HAHA. Still, it made for such a good story so maybe I don't regret it after all.

As to what kind of life-threatening moments I faced from my rash decision (this is probably an exaggeration)... I'll talk about it on my next post which will cover Day 3 (Cromwell) and 4 (Makaroa)!

Check out my other posts on New Zealand:
▶ Backpacking New Zealand (Part 1) - Why I backpacked solo
▶ Backpacking New Zealand (Part 2) - Tekapo
▶ Backpacking New Zealand (Part 3) - Mountain Cook
▶ Backpacking New Zealand (Part 4) - Cromwell & Makaroa
▶ Backpacking New Zealand (Part 5) - Wanaka
▶ Backpacking New Zealand (part 6) - Queenstown & Christchurch

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