Hooker Valley Trail… No, there’s no hooker in the trail!

 After visiting my two favorites lakes in New Zealand, we drove to Mt. Cook. The drive from Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook was amazing – first half of the drive is along the circumference of the turquoise blue Lake Pukaki and the second half of the drive is towards the face of the glacier covered Southern Alps.

It had become cloudy that afternoon and we could hardly see the peak of Mt. Cook. I was really hoping the clouds would clear away at least for a little to make way for our hike. But in vain. With every passing minute, the clouds became darker and darker and it started to drizzle.

I knew exactly what trail I wanted to hike – The Hooker Valley Trail! No no, there’s no hooker in the trail. I have no clue why it was named so. Kinda embarrassing to even tell people that I loved the Hooker Valley Trail; every time I got to emphasize that it is a hiking trail.

Lake Pukaki in the distance – Do you see?
Alpine Memorial

After parking the car, we packed up our bags with jackets, umbrellas, water, bananas and started on our hike. I looked behind every now and then to catch glimpses of Lake Pukaki. It almost seemed like it was warm and sunny near Lake Pukaki, just a few kilometers away from Mt. Cook.

The weather doesn’t make up its mind – it rained every alternate minute and I was tired folding in and opening the umbrella every other minute. Sigh.

The views of the surrounding glacier covered mountains were breathtaking. After a while, I felt like a teeny tiny ant, surrounded by these gigantic, white mountains all around me.

After a while, we came across a viewpoint to see the Mueller Lake and the Mueller Glaciers.

Mueller Lake
Another view of the Mueller Lake and the Mueller Glaciers
A suspension bridge spanning across Hooker River
Fun (and scary) walking on the suspension bridge

We continued walking, crossing the Hooker River on a suspension bridge. How fun! I’m used to walking on suspension bridges in Lynn Canyon, Vancouver and in Arenal Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica, but it always a scary experience for me. The hike to the Hooker Glaciers did not have one suspension bridge, but three!

Another suspension bridge (there are three of those in the trail)

Although I was bummed that the weather was overcast, the cloudy weather did make the scenery look quixotic.

We continued walking until the trail ended in the mouth of the Hooker Lake with glaciers in the background. What I loved the most was the little ice bergs floating on the Hooker Lake. How cool is that?! I love seeing icebergs, so this was really a dream come true for me!

By the way, when you are in Mt. Cook National Park, don’t miss out the short hike to the Tasman Glaciers, New Zealand’s longest glaciers.

Hooker Lake and the glaciers

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