New Zealand February 1999  
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 Wanaka - Mt Cook 03 March
We left Wanaka early in the morning and drove towards Mt. Cook. The route from Wanaka to Mt. Cook follows valleys through thousands of hills..

There are hills and hills and even more hills - everywhere, until you arrive in Omarama. After a nice ice cream - it was a hot sunny day - we visited the clay cliffs. The road to the clay cliffs is awful, terrible - no, it is even worse. :( but the cliffs are great. I enjoyed seeing them and walking right into them.
There is a path from the carpark leading towards the entrance and you can go in if you like. It is very interesting and a bit unusual between all the mountains and hills ;-)
I felt like I was in a desert somewhere in the southwest of the USA.

A few kilometers from here we saw the first one of these amazingly light blue lakes - Ruataniwha Lake.
Of course, we had to stop to have a look at the lake and it's incredible coloured water.

Mount Cook
In the distance we could already see Mt. Cook.
That was also an incredible sight - the white color of Mt. Cook between the green hills of this area. At the shore of Lake Pukaki there is a huge carpark for one of the best views towards Mt. Cook - and it is really special, the amazing blue color of the lake in front, white Mt. Cook in the middle with black mountains right and yellow hills left in the back, a bright blue sky all over this - awesome.
We stopped often to enjoy the views while we were driving along Lake Pukaki but eventually we reached Mt. Cook Village. A short look into the visitor information center helped us to decide where to go.

We visited Tasman Valley. After a short walk over some hills we reached the first one of the three Kettle lakes.
Initially, we wanted to swim in one of these lakes (in the leaflet they were called blue lakes) but they didn't look very inviting. Instead of swimming we climbed some more hills in order to get a view of the Tasman Glacier. The first thing we saw when we reached the top was the lake at the terminal of the glacier - it was very dirty :(. From there, however, we could also see the glacier in the distance and Mt. Cook. Between the glacier and the lake was a big valley full of dust, rocks and stones - we thought ..
But I read the information sign and it said that the ice of the Tasman Glacier is beyond the layer of dust and rocks. And after a closer look at the lake shore I realized that I could see the ice over there. It's like an ice cliff ;-)

On the way back along Lake Pukaki through to Oamaru we had some more scenic stops.

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