There was a bench on the hill above the YHA backpackers where I sat down to enjoy the view. I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to scenery but that was until I’d seen Aoraki Mt. Cook. Even on a clear night, the view takes my breath away. I sat down on the bench for about an hour and could barely drag myself away from it. It was a bright night, with a full moon. The Southern Cross and the Milky Way were behind me, a bit harder to see because of the brightness of the moon. But up on the brow of this hill, I was in my element again.
The stars twinkled like gems in the night sky. I was surrounded by huge mountains, which stretched back into the valley that we came from, earlier on in the day. The sheer rock face rose to dizzying heights and kissed the horizon. To my right, where the moon was, was a huge mass of dark, looming rock, called Mt.Wakefield, that stretched right across the width of the valley. In the centre, on a bed of green grass, were chalets, hostels and cafes, scattered here and there, their lights piercing the darkness. The Hermitage Hotel that was nestled at the base of the mountain, overlooked the whole valley, with a direct view over Mt. Cook. Where else would you get views like this? I couldn’t get enough of it. It was also very cold and you could see your breath on the air. I was cursing myself that I’d brought a fleece with me. It was taking up a lot of room in my rucksack and I hadn’t used it up until now. But I needed it tonight and was glad now that I’d brought it with me.
The room was like a sauna last night so I didn’t get much sleep. The Malaysians, who were staying in the same dorm as me, had the heater on full blast! They like the heat. Having been in Singapore on my last trip to New Zealand, I found out what it was like to be in constant 25 degree heat, so I could understand why they needed the heater to be on so high. At 4am I got up and turned it off.