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Published: September 24th 2015
Despite yesterday's foray into the black and gold world of the 'Pak n Save', we were missing a few items (vegemite needs butter) so after a quick trip into a nearby convenience store (basically like buying stuff in a Bright 7/11), a leisurely breakfast followed. Once we did the requisite photo stops by the lake, the church and atop Mt John and then we were on our way to Queenstown via Mt Cook. Unlike driving anywhere near a hill in Australia, the roads weren't vomit-inducing. Fantastic scenery, driving conditions and a few local radio stations providing the soundtrack meant the journey was very easy.
Overcast and a little chilly, we rugged up in preparation for our three hour hike along the Hooker Valley trail. We scoffed our hastily prepared lunch in front of the Visitor Centre, filled the water bottles and set off. Within a few minutes, Eleanor was tripping over her jumbo sized hiking boots and some poor shoelace tying technique had her sprawled on the ground. Our laughter didn't improve her disposition and she stormed off (careful not to trip overthis time). An hour or so into the trek, the lack of snow and the monotony of the glorious
scenery saw the teens lose a bit of interest. Even Dean jumping on the swing bridges failed to inspire them to continue onto the glacier, so they sat on a rock while we continued for a few more minutes (well, ten or so) to reach the end of the track.
A small patch of snow enabled the girls to throw a few snowballs and build a tiny snowman, so they left the track relatively happy after three hours of pretty easy walking. It wasn't until we drove off and looked back that we saw the peak of Mt Cook poke its way through the clouds.
The sun came out at precisely the same time we hopped into the car to continue the drive to Queenstown. Although we had a couple of stops at Twizel and Cromwell, we arrived at a reasonable time and we were able to appreciate the view from our unit. Snow capped mountains surround the town and it's absolutely beautiful.
Our accommodation is a step down from the luxury of the previous evening and the small heater didn't look powerful enough to keep the cold at bay. Turning the temperature dial up to a number I wouldn't
normally think is appropriate, we stepped out into the night for a spot of dinner. Dayna decided on Fat Badger (the prize for winning the 'Snow challenge' on the hike) and the huge pizza and free wifi kept the girls happy.
Back at the cabin, the little heater was up against it. It was like blowing a hairdryer into Mawson's Hut. We all went to bed rugged up like we were about to spend the night in an igloo.
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