New Zealand is so ridiculously beautiful, it still renders me speechless. Do I say that a lot? Yes. Is there a reason for such repetition? Well, yeah, because look at the state of it!
The Mackenzie Region features some of the most breathtaking scenery in this country. From the strikingly blue Lake Tekapo, to the majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook, your eyes are never not in awe of your surroundings.
I was lucky enough to be hosted at Lakestone Lodge – located at the base of Lake Pukaki. We arrived on a glorious afternoon and right at the end of the lake was that mighty mountain in all its glory – our country’s biggest. Lakestone is such a stunning place to stay – a boutique, eco and completely off-the-grid lodge. Anna and Mike are wonderful hosts, and Steffen the chef knocked every meal out of the park – including cooking the most delicious lamb I have EVER tasted. True story.
I’d never done the Hooker Valley Track in Mt Cook National Park before (a beautiful 40 minute drive from Lakestone Lodge) and gosh what a treat that is! It’s roughly a three hour return trip, has lovely wide paths and would be suitable for most fitness levels. Mum has cooked knees (from years of athleting) and she thoroughly enjoyed it. Be sure to take a packed lunch for your arrival to Hooker Lake and marvel at all 3,724 metres of Aoraki/Mt Cook staring down at you!
We also went up in the sky with Mount Cook Ski Planes & Helicopters. This was one of the most epic things I have ever done in this country. Flying up and right around Aoraki/Mt Cook (we were SO CLOSE!), boosting above the Franz Josef Glacier, and then landing IN A SKI PLANE IN THE SNOW at the top of the Tasman Glacier was just insane. I’ve been lucky enough to do some very cool things in my life, but this goes straight to the pool room.
And hey look, I appreciate not everyone has the desire to jump out of a plane, but I am here for it. The crew at Skydive Mt Cook are a bunch of legends and the view as you hurtle towards earth is outstanding (just make sure you keep your eyes open haha).
There are so many more brilliant things to do down in this piece of paradise, so in my expert, self-appointed travel ambassador opinion, make sure your trip is a minimum of three days. Be sure to have a soak in the hot pools at Tekapo Springs too.
By Brodie Kane