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CAMPING AT WHITE HORSE HILL CAMPGROUND

I was really looking forward to pitching my tent smack in the middle of nature, something that’s unfortunately tricky to pull off without a car in New Zealand. Thankfully this DOC campsite is just a 30-40 minute walk from Mt. Cook Village and very straightforward to reach via Hooker Valley Road or the Kea Point track. Once the bus dropped me off in Mt. Cook Village, I schlepped out there with all my gear and set up camp for the night. Camping at the White Horse Hill campsite is $10 per person, whether you’re in a tent on the grassy knoll or in your car in the nearby parking lot. It’s first come first served (i.e. you can’t book in advance), and you’re meant to leave your campsite fees in an envelope and attach the corresponding tag to your tent or car dashboard. There was someone from the DOC who came around to check tags the next morning when I was there, so you might not want to skip the payment. There are toilets and a kitchen/dining room where you’re free to cook your meals – though note that this is essentially just a big open room with tables and benches and nothing more, so you’ll have to supply your own cooking equipment and cutlery. I can’t even tell you how fantastic it was to wake up in the morning, unzip my tent flap, and gaze directly out at the sun rising between the mountains. I had a clear view without any other tents or cars in front of me. If I opened the flap on the other side of my tent, I was staring straight at the glacier-studded mountains which gave way to a couple small but thundering avalanches during the day I spent there. Best of all, camping at White Horse Hill campground leaves you aptly positioned to take on the nearby hiking trails: Hooker Valley, Kea Point, and Sealy Tarns. #hiking#nationalpark#naturalwonders#summervacation#hikingtrails#urbanexplorer
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