Sadly, an American exchange student had died nearby just weeks before our trip. It was a solemn reminder to be safe and vigilant in the backcountry.
We left Dunedin at 5am on a Saturday and took our time driving to the Fantail Falls carpark. By 11am we were crossing the ice cold Haast River and heading straight up to Brewster Hut.
Mandy enjoying reading in the sun at Brewster Hut
After lunch the group made tracks to Mt. Armstrong. We had great views of the glacier at the top.
It was quite windy near the summit so we didn't make it to the tippy top. Still a satisfying tramp, though!
Descending back to the hut
That evening the sunset was spectacular. My camera couldn't capture the bright reds, oranges, and pinks in the sky - what a shame!
Sunset at Brewster hut
On Sunday, we weren't in a hurry to leave. I enjoyed a few quiet moments by myself before the walk down the mountain.
Sun and mountains
Hiking down the mountain
On the way home, we stopped in Wanaka for a burger at Red Star. I highly recommend their burgers. Both vegetarian options are deeeelicious. There's so much food that it's hard to eat it all - even after a weekend of tramping!
The views on the way home were quite stunning. Lake Hawea was particularly beautiful. The mountains around the lake were enormous, but look tiny in the photo below.
The day after our trip, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck just outside Wanaka and we felt it in Dunedin! It was the first earthquake I've noticed since I've been in New Zealand.
It was a strange experience. I was in my office with three other students and the windows lightly rattled on and off for 20-30 seconds. One of the students immediately knew it was an earthquake. It wasn't strong enough that any of us went under our desks, but it had us wondering how strong it was at the epicenter. Thankfully, there was no reported damage in Dunedin and only minor damage reported in Wanaka.