A big part of my job involves travel and although it can be amazing, I certainly do miss my wife and son whilst on the road. After a handful of trips to NZ this year I still couldn’t get enough, so Renee and I decided it would be a perfect place to take our son Judah for his first international trip.
Now I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous taking a 9 month old on a plane. OK, I was very nervous! If there’s one thing I have learned from being a Dad it’s that no matter how good you might be at fixing cars, building houses or cooking BBQ’s, when it comes to children – you are completely powerless.
With this in mind we anxiously boarded our plane bright and early and braced ourselves for the worst. To our surprise, Judah didn’t seem to mind the flight at all and the Air NZ staff were so accommodating. Despite the various toys we took to entertain him he was most amused by playing with the safety instruction card. There definitely must be something special about the Air NZ safety messages as Renee was disturbingly impressed with the Air NZ Men In Black safety video. Our standards for flying with a baby are now set quite high.
Once on the ground in NZ the plan was simple. Unwind and enjoy some of the South Islands finest scenery. Quite an easy task considering the whole country is a feast for the eyes but there was one place I really wanted to share with my family, the monumental Mt Cook National Park.
If there is one thing I remember about the lead up to this trip, it was assuring my wife that she would;t need to buy that $400 jacket as it would be Spring and we wouldn’t need to worry about snow.
You can imagine the look on both our faces when we began driving along lake Puakaki towards Mt Cook and what started out as rain soon turned into snow flakes and the entire landscape become whited out.
After the initial shock, we were both incredibly excited (me especially) to be in a snow storm. As the snow flakes continued falling and the landscape around us turned pure white we arrived at the heart of the National Park.
New Zealand is beautiful year round but when she’s covered in snow there’s no comparison.
As incredible as it was, after a day of winter wonderland goodness we needed the cloud to depart so Mr Cook could reveal his mighty face. I must admit I had my doubts but not too long before sunset on our final night, the sun made a triumphant return and the king of NZ could be seen.
Finally Renee could see and understand my fascination with this amazing part of the world. There’s nothing quite like standing at the base of this 12,218ft giant, the tallest mountain in the country. It’s definitely a sight that has captivated me over the years and is hard to put into words.
Before sunset I frantically made my way in to the Hooker Valley to catch last light at the ice filled Hooker Lake. This is definitely one of the best places to go to get up close and personal with Aoraki.
Although he is too young to remember, it was a real blessing being with my son as he not only touched snow for the first time but was able to gaze upon the some cloud piercing peaks that grace the South Island.