Te Araroa – Day 109

Mt Cook Village to Mueller Hut – 13km – 0 TA kilometers

V and I caught a shuttle from Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook Village to hike up to Mueller Hut, which offers great views of Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain.

Lake Tekapo in the morning

From Mt Cook Village it is about a 6.5km hike up to Mueller Hut which they say takes 4 hours to do. That is a little over 1km per hour. The reason for the slow speed is that the track gains over 1000m in approximately 2.5-3km.

The first part of the track from Mt Cook Village is lovely and flat, in parts along a board walk. It was the loveliest trail I have been on for a while. Then after just over a km of that the climb begins. The first half of the climb is up lots and lots of stairs. It was really steep, but it was actually a delight to do compared to the TA. Stairs are so much easier to work your way up compared to an almost vertical mountain side that I am use to on the TA.

Once half way up the track changes to rocks, with a few places where you have to scramble up some rocks but nothing bad. Again it is steep but it was a lot of fun to do some rock scrambling. However, it had become a very hot day and I was sweating buckets. I felt sorry for all the day hikers in their fresh clothes, walking past me who does not have fresh clothes and had sweat dripping off me (I’m really selling myself here! πŸ˜†)

Rock hopping on the way down

Once at the top the track levels out for the last km to the hut, with more rock hopping. We did the 4 hour journey in just over 2.5 hours and spent time at the hut enjoying the view while eating lunch and hearing the occasional crack of the glacier on the nearby mountain giving way.

Flat rock hopping to Mueller Hut

The hike down was slightly quicker and we managed to make it back to the village in time to catch the shuttle back to Lake Tekapo, where we were reunited with the others and I finally did laundry.

Today I am thankful for a great day of hiking off trail.

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