Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Aoraki Mount Cook Road Trip

Lucky, lucky, lucky me! Friends generously invited me to join their family on a road trip to Mount Cook over the long holiday weekend (Queen's Birthday). Mount Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain at 3754 metres (or 12313.12 feet) and only one of hundreds that make up the Southern Alps. There is a Maori legend of Mount Cook that is the story of Aoraki and his brothers that were stranded upon a reef while on a voyage around Papatuanuku (the Earth Mother).

You can view the story of the legend and learn more about the area in a wonderful short 3D movie that plays in the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center in the Heritage Hotel. They also have a great museum in the Center and provide the opportunity to learn almost anything you ever wanted to know about Sir Edmund and fellow mountaineers.

The Heritage Hotel is where we stayed for the weekend. While we were there, the hotel was celebrating its 125th year by holding a reunion weekend for all former employees. The hotel is very large, but very comfortable, with three restaurants and a huge shop. There seem to be many walks in the area for people of all fitness levels, and there are heaps of other activites to engage in in this incredibly beautiful area. My only disappointment of the weekend was that we arrived just after the boats of the Glacier Explorers had stopped running for the weekend. Ah well, another time, as I'll certainly be going back.

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