New Zealand – Southern Island – Mt Cook Hooker Valley

RO: Asa-i ca ne-a cam ramas gandul la somonul de la High Country Salmon din Twizel, si asa-i ca o sa ne oprim pentru un mic dejun rapid inainte de muntele Cook? Pai cum sa fie altfel?! Cum sa ratam noi una dintre cele trei crescatorii de somon din bazinul Mackenzie, mai ales dupa ce-am salivat tot zborul uitandu-ne la filmuletul de la Air New Zealand, cu crescatoriile de somon din Marlborough. Las’ ca nu doar Malborough are somon delicios, ci si satucul Twizel, de care n-a auzit mai nimenea. Pe langa High Country Salmon (care e cea mai mica din zona), mai sunt alte doua crescatorii de somon, pe care nu le-am mai inclus pe traseu, ca doar cat somon sa intre intr-un mic dejun? Alpine Salmon si Benmore Salmon sunt celelalte doua, in caz ca ne doboara muntele Cook si-avem nevoie de o reimprospatare a fortelor. Daca Tripadvisor zice ca High Country Salmon are niste covrigi dementiali cu somon afumat, o cafea delicioasa si preturi decente (ceea ce ne cam suna a oximoron in Noua Zeelanda), mergem pe mana lui.

EN: To tell the truth, we’re still thinking about the salmon from High Country Salmon in Twizel and stopping there for breakfast sounds like a very good idea ๐Ÿ˜€ How could we miss one of the three salmon farms in Mackenzie basin, now that we have seen that movie from the Air New Zealand flight, presenting us the salmon farms from Marlborough. Oh well, Marlborough is not the only one that has delicious salmon, Twizel, the undiscovered village that nobody heard of, has some pretty good salmon as well. Beside High Country Salmon (the smallest from the area), there are two other salmon farms, which we haven’t included on our itinerary, as… how much salmon one can eat for breakfast? ๐Ÿ™‚ Alpine Salmon and Benmore Salmon are the other two, just in case Mount Cook will kill us and we will need some restocking. If Tripadvisor says that High Country Salmon has some delicious bagels with smoked salmon, delicious coffee and decent prices (in New Zealand that sounds like oxymoron), we’ll trust it!
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Twizel High Country Salmon
RO: Si dupa ce infulecam ca apucatii portiile de somon la prima ora in dimineata, avem suficienta energie sa facem pe vitejii in fata muntelui Cook si sa pornim pe valea Hooker, pe traseu. Ce conteaza ca-i una dintre cele mai scurte si mai usoare drumetii din zona? Sau ca abia daca urci 100 de metri in altitudine, atata-i de drept drumul? Niste muntomani adevarati ar rade in nas vaii Hooker, la cat e de anosta si plictisitoare. Ca dificultate, pentru ca peisajele sunt ireale! Ei si daca tot e atat de usor traseul, e lesne de inteles ca nu suntem singuri pe drum, ca in seara precedenta la ghetarul Tasman. Ba mai mult, ai autocare intregi la baza muntelui, veniti sa exploreze Hooker Valley in grupuri. Ei dar care-i baiul, cand noi abia daca avem vreo ora dus intors sa ne plimbam prin zona? Nu de alta dar avem drum taman pana la Christchurch in seara asta. Ajungem la muntele Sefton si la ghetarul Mueller care-l acopera de parca ar fi glazura de pe un cheesecake decadent. Pardon, un carrot cake, ca tot e obsesia neozeelandezilor.

EN: And after the salmon feast at first hour in the morning, we have plenty of energy to face Mount Cook and head to Hooker Valley, on the track. It doesn’t matter that this is actually one of the shortest and easiest tracks in the area ๐Ÿ˜€ Or that you barely reach 100 meters altitude, that’s how straight the track is ๐Ÿ™‚ Some real mountain guys would laugh in Hooker Valley’s face, that’s how bland and boring it is. If we talk about difficulty, of course, otherwise the landscape is surreal! And if the track is that easy, obviously we are not the only ones in the valley, as we were last night at Tasman glacier. Even more, there are tourist buses at the edge of the mountain, all coming here to explore the valley in groups. But what’s all the fuss about, we can only stay around one hour in the area, as tonight we have to reach Christchurch by sunset. We reach the Sefton mountain and Mueller glacier that covers it as if it would be the frosting on a decadentย cheesecake. Oh no, sorry, a carrot cake, as this seems to be the New Zealanders obsession.ย 
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RO: Iar lacul Mueller ce se formeaza la baza ghetarului are o culoare laptoasa de zici ca-ti curge-n fata un milkshake pacatos de la McDonaldโ€™s. Dar slava cerului, nici urma de calorii in exces in lacul Mueller. Ce-i da culoarea alba e fix acelasi โ€œingredientโ€ care ii da si lacului Tekapo sau Lacurilor de Smarald din Tongariro luciul acela verde-turcoaz. Si anume praful de roca obtinut in urma frecarii ghetarului pe munte. Stim de la lectiile de geografie ca ghetarii sunt intr-o permanenta miscare, iar deplasarea lor creaza acest praf. Unde mai pui ca daca pe alocuri mai dai de un inghet-dezghet, mai faci rost de-un pic de roca fainoasa care sa iti coloreze apele lacurilor glaciare.

EN: And Mueller lakes forms itself at the base of the glacier and it has a milky color as if you would have a McDonald’s flowing milkshake in front of you. But luckily, not a trace of excess calories at lake Mueller. What gives the white color is exactly the same “ingredient” that makes lake Tekapo or the Emerald Lakes from Tongariro that green-turquoise shimmer. And that’s the dust rock from the friction of the glacier on the mountain. We know from the geographyย lessons that the glaciers are constantly moving, and their displacing creates this dust. Not to mention that if there are some frosts and defrosts, that’s how the dusty rock is formed, which colors our glacial lakes.ย 
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RO: Mai dam o fuga panโ€™ la Peters Lookout, ca prea am vrea sa sedimentam in minte imaginea aceea de carte postala cu muntele pe fundal si drumul sinuos si pustiu in zare. De unde atata pustietate, pare ca-i cine stie ce bulevard din vreo capitala europeana. Asa trec campervan-urile unul dupa altul, grabiti s-ajunga sus in varf de munte. Si-abia acum intelegem de unde si pana unde le-a venit ideea maorilor sa numeasc tarisoara aceasta Aoteaora, Tinutul Norului Alb si Lung. Pai uita-te-n zare, in varf de munte Cook, cum parca fumega de mama focului! Se-arata tantos el norul cel alb si lung, care domina intreaga vale.

EN: We’re stopping again at Peters Lookout, as we want to always remember that postcard view, with the mountain in the background and the sinuousย and deserted road at a distance. Not that deserted to be honest, as today looks like a boulevard from who knows what European capital. That’s how often the camper vans are passing through this area, hurrying to get on top of the mountain. And know we do understand why the Maori people decided to call the country Aoteaora, The Land of the Long White Cloud. Well look in front of us, on top of Mount Cook, it looks like a smoking chimney! That’s the famous long white cloud, which rules the roost in this area.ย 
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Mt Cook
On the way to Hooker Valley
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RO: Si parca am mai zabovi ceva vreme doar uitandu-ne la muntele Cook ca stim noi cine la poarta noua, insa e musai sa ajungem rapid la Tekapo. Sa-i vedem apele turcoaz faimoase in tot internetul si micuta biserica Good Shepherd, pe care o stim din pozele cu Calea Lactee. Si poate avem putin noroc sa prindem si-o farama de lupini! Dar n-avem, ca doar sezonul lor abia s-a terminat pe la sfarsitul lui ianuarie. Dar lasโ€™ ca nu e bai, ne amintim de campurile intregi de lupini movulii din Islanda, si parca-parca trece supararea. Mai luam un fish&chips si-un carrot cake si mai ales un vin alb, sec, de prin regiunea Marlborough, si incheiem programul de alergat de colo-colo. Avem de mers taman pana la Christchurch, si uite ca intr-un fel sau altulโ€ฆ s-a cam dus traseul pe insula sudica. Timpul e mai precipitat in Noua Zeelanda. Zboara de nici nu-l simti. Ramanem asadar cu un milion de carduri doldora de poze si cu amintirea unui munte cu piscul inzapezit, scaldat de un nor mare si alb. Si un fiord superb, parca sculptat dupa planuri precise. Si-o vegetatie luxurianta, in contrast cu una secetoasa pe partea opusa a Alpilor de Sud. Si-o nebunie de oras, renumit in toata lumea pentru bungee jumping si-alte sporturi extreme. Si-o sumedenie de satuce dragalase, ridicate hat demult, in Epoca de Aur. Si-un roi imens de muste de nisip la Ship Creek. Si niste picioare umflate de la piscaturi ๐Ÿ˜€ Aaaah, insula sudica, ne-ai facut praf!

EN: And we would like to wander around just looking at Mount Cook forever, but we really have to go to Lake Tekapo. To see its turquoise waters, famous all around the internet, and its tiny Good Shepard church, which we all know from the pictures with the Milky Way. And maybe we’ll have enough luck to see a couple of lupines! But we don’t, as their season ended in January. But that’s not a big deal, we’ll remind ourselves of the purple lupine fields from Iceland, and we’re over the grief. We take some more fish&chips, a carrot cake and especially a white wine, a dry one from Marlborough, and we’re ending the trip here. We now have to reach Christchurch, and one way or another… the days on the southern island are over. Time flies here, in New Zealand. You can barely feel it. So we’re having a millionย of cards full of pictures and we’ll always remember the snow-bound peak of the mountain, covered by the long white cloud. A wonderful fjord, that seems to be carved with precise moves. A luxuriant vegetation, contrasting the arid one from the other part of the Southern Alps. And a crazy city, known all around the world for its bungee jumping and other extreme sports. And a ton of cute villages, built long ago, in the Golden Era. And a hive of sandflies at Ship Creek and some inflated legs from all those pinches ๐Ÿ˜€ Aaaaah, southern island, you knocked us out!ย 
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