Wed 19 Nov: The noise of the wind almost blowing the flysheet away meant we didn’t have a great night’s sleep in the tent, and we got up to a cloudier day. After a quick breakfast we headed off on the Hooker Valley trail towards the the Hooker glacier and Mt. Cook. It was cold with occasional showers, but the scenery was still spectacular.
The trail itself crosses the river leading down from the glacier to Lake Pukaki twice via swing bridges. It was a very pleasant, although windy, walk, up to a small lake below the glacier, in which there were several large chunks of ice, which had presumably broken off. It was around 2 hours each way. We even came across some Mt. Cook Lilies, which are a type of buttercup that are only supposed to grow in this region, although we did spot some near Doubtful Sound later in the week. After getting back to the car, we headed further south towards Queenstown.
Ultimately we decided to press on to Kingston rather than stay in Queenstown, and we found a nice clean cabin at a holiday park. It was nearly 8pm, so we quickly headed down the road to the pub by the old station. I hadn’t realised that Kingston is home to the Kingston Flyer, which is a steam train that has been restored, and 2 engines were locked up in the yard for the night, looking immaculate. We took a couple of pictures then went to get a beer and some food.
The pub was a nice place with several locals in there, but I got the impression that if we hadn’t come in, they would have closed it because the guys at the bar kept asking if it was last orders yet. Unfortunately no-one offered to buy us beer to keep the place open a bit longer, so at around 9:30 we left. It had only just gone dark. These long Spring/Summer evenings are something you forget about when you live nearer the tropics.