Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in Australasia, and it was the mountain’s national park that my brother and I were headed for our next outdoors experience. New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) run hundreds of cheap campsites around the country. One of these sits beneath a glacier near the Mount Cook national park.
On the way up, we picked up a couple of hitchhikers. Both German, both backpacking with camping gear, but who had just met that day. With new friends in tow, we arrived at the campsite and set up.
The Mount Cook Village provides plenty of accommodation for travellers, but I was keen to try camping again so we set up at the campsite. Our new German friends joined us for wine and beer under the stars, the snow encrusted image of the White Horse Hill above us.
The next morning, after a breakfast of scrambled eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes on fried bread, we took to the hills up the Sealy Tarns track, a path with over 2000 steps that winds its way up the mountainside, with incredible views over Mount Cook and its sibling mountains.
Continuing up from the tarns, a steep and demanding trail leads to a simple hut for overnight trampers, but we set off back to the car.