For so many years I have wanted to hike along the Hooker Valley Track in New Zealand. I was fortunate enough recently to make my dream come true. In April this year, on a perfect Autumn day, my wife and I set out to do the 8 km (5 mile) 4 hour round trek to the base of Mount Cook and Hooker Lake via the Hooker Valley Track and let me tell you … it was SPECTACULAR!
It was everything I dreamt it would be. Besides the jaw dropping alpine scenery, I was also witness to avalanches (from a distance), flowing streams, suspension bridges, wildlife, icebergs (yes, icebergs!) and of course seeing Mount Cook up close is something else.
I chose to travel light in terms of camera equipment. I took my Nikon D800 and Sony RX100 Mark 3 and a smaller lighter tripod. This paid off in the end because I have gone on much longer hikes with a full camera kit and lenses. At the end of those hikes my legs felt like jelly, on this hike I felt really good and still energetic at the end.
Here are some tips regarding the Hooker Valley Track. Firstly, make sure you take some food and water. Just snacks would be enough to get you by. I took a large Gatorade, a pre made sandwich, nut bar and packet of chips. I found that more than enough to keep me rolling along. Secondly, make sure you have sunscreen and a good quality brand insect repellent, especially in the early morning or late evening. Thirdly, DON’T RUSH, I was moving along at a pretty fast pace going in on the track and I wish I would have walked slower because you come to the end soon enough at Hooker Lake.
I would describe the hike somewhere between easy to moderate. Let me put it this way, I saw 70 something year old people with walking canes passing me going back towards the main campsite, so my immediate thoughts of what lay before me fitness wise were instantly relieved. I had trained for months beforehand, but in the end I didn’t really need it. What you will notice is the hike in is a bit harder than the hike out due to the ever so slight upwards grade to the base of Mount Cook and Hooker Lake.
Have you been to the Hooker Valley Track? Perhaps you’re thinking of doing it soon? If so, I’d love to hear from you and your experience in the comments below. Please feel free to say hello.
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Hooker Valley Track – dream accomplished.