Day 10: June 7th – You Best Take a Look at Mount Cook

We woke up at Lindis Pass Historic Hotel campsite. The Lindis Pass Hotel was used in the 1880’s during the Gold Rush in the Central Otago Region, but was abandoned in 1950 and is now in pretty rough shape.


We opted to sleep in the campervan, rather than the hotel.

We hit the road and drove through Lindis Pass.

We realized we needed gas, so we went back in the direction we had come from to Tarras, since we had no idea how far it would be to the next petrol (gas) station. Once we filled up, we were en route to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Mount Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain, at 12,218 feet.


Parts of the drive were really foggy. We went through a small salmon town, called Twizel, with tons of beautiful blue lakes–that we could barely make out through the thick fog.

We were starting to worry because we thought it would be too foggy to be able to do anything at Mount Cook. We checked the weather, (use MetService in NZ for all your weather-checking needs!) and everywhere EXCEPT Twizel was nice and sunny. Twizel was so foggy and FREEZING! (It felt just like home…Mother Nature LOVES using Duluth to display her bipolar tendencies.) It was -9 degrees Celsius/16 degrees Fahrenheit. BRISK for June. Check out these trees!

So we pushed on toward Mount Cook, and got our first look at Lake Pukaki. The blue water–like turquoise, Caribbean sea blue water–was just unbelievable! And the fog completely lifted once we got out of Twizel.

Next stop: Mount Cook visitor centre for advice on hiking routes. We decided on the 13 kilometer/8 mile Hooker Valley track. But first…quick, staring contest, GO!


We headed out to the track and it was really snowy and icy. We saw a lady fall and totally jack up her wrist. Jo fell on his butt early. Elaina fell on the way back. Slippery stuff!

The hike was amazing. The weather was perfect–blue skies and sunny and warm.

The hike was to the Tasman Glacier and Tasman Lake. There were three suspension bridges. It was very “Middle Earth-y”.

The lake was frozen so we could go out (and scissor) on it.

It was quite a bit cooler on the way back, once the sun was starting to go down. Thankfully we made it back before dark on today’s hike. Yay! It probably wouldn’t have been too smart or fun to slip and slide our way back on that icy trail in the dark.

We started out of town and decided to make a stop at Tekapo Springs. We got a great deal using BookMe to get our tickets. There were three pools–36 degrees C, 37 degrees C and 38 degrees C (in Fahrenheit, 96.8, 98.6 and 100.4). It was so great. It was very cold to start, getting out to the pools and cold going between the pools–frosty lawn chairs and decks!!–but definitely worth it!

We had so much fun and really relaxed, and even had hot showers afterwards.

Oh yeah and they had curling league there that night on the outdoor rink. So cool!


Jo got us some pies for dinner–buttery chicken and beef. They were SUPER good. Sidenote: pies in NZ aren’t like pies at home. They are meat pies, like pot pies–savory and flaky crusty and delicious. We devoured our pies, and the leftover cheese and baguette we had from the night before, in the parking lot of a hotel so we could use the internet. A very classy move.

Jo found a great deal on a campervan relocation. You may be wondering what a campervan relocation is. In that case, we’d like to share the good news in the world of campervans.

Companies frequently need their campervans transported from one location to another, to be available for customers picking up elsewhere. When they need these vans moved, you can often book them at a very low rate ($1 per day, in our case) as long as you get them to the destination in the agreed-upon number of days. Always look for these, especially if your schedule is flexible!

We really hope companies like these take off in the US…there could be some really cool road trips in our future if they do!

So tomorrow, the plan is to check out Lake Tekapo in the morning, then drive on to Christchurch to drop off the X-Wing and pick up our new relocation van.

Van hoppin’!!


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