After our high flying wheelchair experience and abandoning the Kea Point Walk we were keen to do something achievable. We went back to the Whitehorse Camping ground and set off on the Hooker Valley walk. This is a busy walk. It's not the place for quiet contemplation of the stunning scenery as you need to be able to dodge camera happy tourists in bright tight lyrcra. The track surface was good as this is a well maintained track. We went as far as the Lake Muller Lookout and really enjoyed the views. A highlight on the way back was looking at the very rock that Freda du Faur posed beside when she became the first woman to climb Mt Cook in 1910.
I'm sure not many people know that the Mountaineer Cafe, Mt Cook Village is the place to go for the most tasty smoked salmon pizza and delicious coffee. You can enjoy this feast and watch the sun set on Mt Cook. Not that you can always see the amazing peaks. We have been very lucky with the weather in our recent trip on Otago Anniversary Weekend. We had a wander around the village and I wished yet again that they had at least one accessible walk. I guess I'll have to petition DOC about that. It's always fun walking around and being in such an amazing and peaceful place. Mostly peaceful. There are a lot of tourists about. We had to laugh when two black vans pulled up. Then out hopped about 20 Japanese female hikers, complete with packs and poles, who took off energetically into the sunset. Maybe they were CIA agents...
Otago Anniversary Weekend was a good excuse to escape to Twizel. This is the first time I've ever visited a loch. I can assure you that the only thing lurking beneath the water was escaped salmon judging from the well established fishermen sitting beside the loch. Loch Cameron is situated right beside the Pukaki Canal,at the end of Glen Lyon Road, about 6 km from the State Highway. The Twizel Information Centre say this walk is an easy 25 min stroll. The track is a 4WD road which is pretty smooth. There is a section that is not wheelchair accessible and required us to do a two wheel manoeuver through the bull rushes! No recommended! In saying that it's still a nice place to visit and watch the birds.
Monday 12th March, we were over in Twizel for a short recharge break. This time we really wanted to find a track Kyle could do with us up at Mt Cook National Park. There seem to be a lot of tracks with great potential that are currently not accessible for a wheelchair, even with a lot of determination! We set off on the Tasman Lake Track. Most people head straight up the track to the Blue Lakes Tasman Glacier View Track. After climbing up for about 400 meters we veered off to the right and it was great not to have to constantly avoid lyric clad camera pointers. The track winds through Matagouri and Speargrass as you walk through the old terminal moraines of the glacier. The size of the boulders is impressive. The track averages about 1.5 meters with small sections of rocks and thick gravel that are challenging. It is a mostly gentle climb with a few steep sections. The spectacular views up and down the valley make the walk worth the effort. And of course the view of the Tasman Lake.
Akaroa is such an interesting place to visit and well worth the effort. We were actually there in late November for a family celebration. It is a windy 90 minute drive from Christchurch. Rich in history and picturesque it is fascinating to wander round and explore and smell the roses. I was very keen to do some walks and was excited to spot an "accessible boardwalk to Children's Bay." I rallied and organised my family members and we walked from the village past the recreation ground. We diverted to inspect the wharf and admire French Bay. Then we walked past the skate park and followed a track. There was quite a lip to tip the wheelchair onto the board walk, which had a medium gradient. Then after a few minutes the boardwalk track ended and became a shell covered beach path, complete with driftwood. It was tricky to navigate and a small bog to cross with a stream nearly got us totally stuck. Thanks to my brother's expert skills only he got dirty feet! The track went back to boardwalk but a medium gradient. Nice views but not the easy accessible walk I was expecting. Total time 20 minutes.
We need a new type of wheelchair. The plan today was the Kea Point walk. We had high expectations. Both the DOC track information and the "Aoraki Mount Cook National Park Day Walks" given by the motel listed it as easy "This walk gently winds its way through subalpine grasslands and scrub to the Mueller Glacier. Sounds good...
It's been a long time since I've updated this blog. There have been a few mountains that have been climbed n my life in the last year. I've just had a few days up at Mt Cook National Park and we have done a few walks. I'll add them in very soon. watch this space.
About three weeks ago on my continuous hunt for a good coffee I visited Kinross Cottages - about 20 minutes from Queenstown in the Gibston Valley. I was also thinking that this might be a good spot to link into the Queenstown Bike Trail. However, when we spoke to the manager he said it was a bit of a walk to get to the trail and on this day we were pressed for time so we took up his suggestion for a walk to to visit the old ruins. On their website it talks about the history of this site. It says:
Visiting the glaciers is an amazing experience. However if you can't rock hop it's very tricky to get a good view. We were at Fox Glacier at Easter and discovered this very nice short Glacier View walk where you truly get an awesome view and a very large bolder to sit on to admire the view! Heading South from Fox you drive over the bridge and go all the up the Glacier View Road (large camper vans are not allowed on this narrow road). There's plenty of parking and even a picnic table and standard DOC long-drop loo. It was a good well formed track with no major obstacles. Very pleasant even in the rain!
It was a chilly but very sunny Sunday afternoon when we went out to do a short walk. Armed with ginger nuts we headed to the Arrow Junction near Arrowtown, and turned downWhitechapel Road. A short distance down the road you can join the Queenstown Trail. We parked in gavel carpark and joined the trail. Just around the corner was the most spectacular suspension bridge over the Arrow River - I'm not sure Kyle enjoyed the motion as much as we did! The gradient off the bridge was short but steep. We followed the trail to the point where it meets the back road to Arrowtown and then walked back. The return walk would have been no more than 1.5 km. The track surface was hard packed gravel and the track was about 2 metres wide. You can continue on this track. . . More later