I have no doubt that all photographers have their favourite locations that they not only want to but need to come back to time and time again. For me that place is the Mount Cook National Park. Located in this area for a few weeks allows exploration of amazing scenery wherever you look and walking, lots and lots of walking. Really doesn't seem to matter where you go there are incredibly vistas in all directions and, courtesy of the dark sky scenic reserve, it has some of the best views of stars anywhere in New Zealand.
The area is definitely blessed with very changeable weather. One day we would be hiking in jackets, gloves and hats then the next day we'd be in shorts! We do always seem to be lucky with the weather though and for the majority of our time at the Mount Cook Village the sun was shining and Mount Cook was on full display looking incredible. I can see why mountaineers would look at that peak and decide to climb it.....but not for me!
The start of our month was spent in a little town called Fairlie. This is a beautiful spot that looks out to Mount Dobson Ski Fields and is only a short drive to Burkes Pass and Tekapo. Fairlie is one of the places which just quietly carries on with life at its own slow pace watching as the tourists go back and forth between Christchurch and Tekapo. What most people fail to know though is that Fairlie has one of the best bakeries in all of New Zealand. A pork belly pie with apple sauce and crackling on top or wild venison with red wine gravy are not to be missed!
Today I sit at another of our favourite spots, Lake Ohau, enjoying majestic views south across the lake which is so calm it looks like a mirror. So just a few days here before heading back to Fairlie (no doubt for another pie!) and then on to Christchurch at the end of November. 
That's all for now, hope you enjoy the photos.

One of many backroads I covered around Fairlie

So that's why my truck normally looks so dirty.......remnants of the dust cloud following me as I drive the backroads

Great to see Lake Opuha full of water again. We were here just over two years ago and there was very, very little water in the lake which had reached critical levels causing a lot of challenges for the local farmers. Looks calm here courtesy of a long exposure to smooth the water on the lake. Reality was me hanging desperately onto an umbrella being turned inside out by the wind as I tried to stop the camera getting soaked.....who says photos don't lie ;-)

Dark skies in Fairlie gave way to clear skies in Tekapo. The transition from one to the other through Burkes Pass was stunning.

Big clouds catch the nor'west winds as they rise off the valley floor heading to Fairlie

Beautiful pockets of afternoon light break through the clouds to light up the tussock that gives Mackenzie District its incredible colour

The evening breeze played with this cloud constantly reshaping it

Hikers enjoying the views and short walk to Kea Point

A stormy day at base gave some incredible light on the surrounding peaks as the clouds constantly rolled in and cleared away again

Didn't take long for a camper to make its way into this image to give some scale to the scene

I went all the way to Greenland to see icebergs ;-). Alarmingly the Tasman Glacier is retreating at almost 500m every year. Just over 100 years ago this whole lake would have been solid ice!

I never tire of this view

A rock pool provided a great reflection of Mount Cook

Ice cold glacial water tumbles over rocks as it pours out of Hooker Lake eventually joining with Lake Pukaki

In the distance is the Mueller Glacier which is melting and joins the Hooker River

Now that was a great spot for an afternoon beer at the Hermitage Hotel in the village

One of the very wet days at base

It doesn't get much more kiwi than this. Mount Cook, the blue water of Lake Pukaki and a sheep :-)

The start of a stunning night looking out at Mount Cook as the sun was setting

Early morning light bathes the hills flanking the Hooker River

Part way along the walk to Hooker Lake

Our very early start was rewarded with a perfectly calm and mirror like surface to Hooker Lake. The scale and beauty of this spot never ceases to amaze me, especially when the lake is filled with large chunks of ice.

Some mornings are definitely worth the early start :-)

Found this lump of ice on the shore and it amused me how once upon a time it was probably up on the mountain

A decent climb up 1300 steps leads to the Red Tarns......now that is a view worth climbing for

I sat here one evening listening to the sound of the Hooker River flowing over rocks in the distance accompanied by the occasional crash of rock and ice tumbling down the surrounding mountains. 

The New Zealand Black Fronted tern is unfortunately on the endangered list. Hopefully current efforts to protect the habitats of this beautiful bird will be successful and allow it to recover.

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