[It became obvious early on that I wouldn't be able to post all of my New Zealand photos in real time--between the traveling and exploring, as well as sorting, editing, and uploading (hampered by bandwidth limited by cost and slowness). So in an effort to show something...here's the first batch of pictures.]
After taking the train from Kaikoura to Christchurch on Sunday 19 January and staying overnight at the YMCA, I caught two buses early Monday morning. The first one took me to Twizel, and after lunch there I took the second one for the ~45 minute trip north to the Mount Cook Village, where I stayed 3 nights. The weather was great upon arrival, but changes were forecast so I hurried out to explore. Surprisingly, the weather stayed good until the last afternoon when it got blustery and rainy, as it was again on 23 January, the morning of my departure.
On the 23rd I returned to Twizel where I spent the next 2 days...then I headed northeast back toward Christchurch to spend another 2 says at the small resort town at the south end of Lake Tekapo. Interestingly, the best bus trip I could arrange for this was a tour bus that took me back to Mt. Cook Village for an hour lunch stop.
The mountain was first sighted by Abel Tasman in 1641. In 1851 it was named for Captain JamesmCook, although Cook never saw it. In 1881 and 1889 it was surveyed to be 12,349 feet/3,764 meters in height. The first ascent was made on Christmas Day 1884 by three New Zealand climbers.
In 1991 a surprise spectacular avalanche caused 12 million cubic meters of rock to fall from the summit, shortening its height to the more recent official measurement of 12,316 feet/3,754 meters. But...on 17 January 2014, one week before my visit, a new survey revealed that it was even shorter--3724 meters, perhaps due to reshaping of the ice cap after the 1991 collapse (Otago Daily Times article).
Most if not all place names in New Zealand now officially include both the English and Maori names, with the English name first. But the mountain was renamed in 1998 from Mount Cook to Aoraki / Mount Cook, with the Maori name first.
The photos are in this Google Plus album...click on any photo to see the caption and to enlarge...then click on the photo (a la Facebook) to continue to the next one. Comments/complaints about this means of sharing are welcome.