After months of sleeping in cars and not showering for entire weekends, Emily’s parents had arrived and I had never been so thankful for a bed or a reliable car.
Our first weekend with them was spent in Queenstown and Lake Wanaka, and then Milford Sound. Their rental car was big enough to stretch your legs out, had four working windows, and didn’t make mysterious noises. We stayed in hotel rooms and AirBnB’s and ate meals at restaurants and cooked dinners in kitchens. We were living in luxury.
Our first hike was Rob Roy Glacier, which became the third glacier I have hiked to in New Zealand. While I must admit that the hike and the glacier itself was not my favorite, the drive to the hike itself was outstanding.
Each day of our two weekends was spent doing another hike. Beginning with Hoke Lake in Queenstown.
The next day we spent walking along the river in Arrowtown, then hiking along the lake in Te Anau. Our next morning began at 6 where we headed to Mirror Lakes, and then hiked Key Summit.
Our afternoon on Sunday was spent at Milford Sound on a boat cruise. Once again we were told how lucky we were as we got the “trifecta.” This was because we spotted a penguin on the coast of the harbor, our boat was followed by playful bottle nose dolphins, and we got to see a group of sea lions sub bathing on a rock.
The following weekend meant our return to Mt Cook. However this time Emily and I were not going to spend two torturous nights bundled in our little car, freezing from the mountain air. So we were a little excited.
We returned to Hooker Valley and were astounded, seeing as our previous visit we were actually underwhelmed by the hike and the glacier. But this time the sun was shining, the lake wasn’t frozen, and Mt Cook was visible in the clear sky and it made all the difference.
In contrast, Tasman Valley Glacier was quite the step down from our last trip as by now the clouds had blown through, leaving the glacial lake a muted gray color.