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Aoraki / Mount Cook

Practical information on Aoraki / Mount Cook

  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Viewpoint
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Mountain
  • River
  • Lake
  • Art & Culture
  • Unesco World Heritage
  • Essential
5 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
45min by car from Twizel
When to go
Spring, summer
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Aoraki / Mount Cook

Delphine Teisserenc Seasoned Traveller
46 written opinions

The highest peak in the country, Mount Cook dominates the Southern Alps in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site. 

My suggestion:
Make sure that you check the weather forecast thoroughly before heading to Mount Cook to avoid making the trip, only to return without seeing anything at all.
My review

My adventures in New Zealand led me to visit Mount Cook twice, and the mountain isn't always easy to see. In fact, each time, the giant mountain was camouflaged by fog, only partially visible depending on the thickness of the fog.

Organized hiking trips that depart from Mount Cook Village, provide viewpoints over Aoraki (the Maori name for Mount Cook). The walk from the Hooker Valley guided me to the glacier of the same name, with a view over the Southern Alps in the background (if the weather allows you to see anything, that is - which was sadly not the case for me!) Upon returning to the village, I would suggest that you visit the little museum and information center, which showcases the development of high-altitude climbing equipment, as well as giving the history of the first attempts at climbing the mountain.

When leaving the village, I took the route toward the Tasman Glacier, where other hiking trips start. There too, the panoramic view over the mountain range and the valley is exceptional, and it is possible to view the opposite face of Mount Cook. The journey between Twizel and Mount Cook Village takes you along the shores of Lake Pukaki, which is well worth a stop to experience the changing blue hues of the water as the weather changes.

Floriane Seasoned Traveller
37 written opinions

In the heart of the New Zealand Alps, the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park is a must for hiking fans. 

My suggestion:
Stay a while if you'd like to follow the numerous trails in the park. At night, stars light a clear, unpolluted sky - the region is an observation point for the Milky Way. 
My review

At 3,724 meters high, Aoraki/Mount Cook (the former being its Maori name), is the highest peak in the country and dominates New Zealand's Alps. Around it are 27 other summits of over 3,000 meters that form the Southern Alps. A landscape waiting to be discovered by foot.

Based at a DOC campsite, the starting point of several trails with amazing views, I was ideally placed to explore the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. I spent four days winding my way along its tracks.

I highly recommend the trail along Hooker Valley. It's easy to do and leads to the glacial Hooker Lake, with amazing mountian views all along the way. I equally enjoyed the Sealy Tarn Track - harder to do but just as magnificent. Be warned that the ascent is a tough one! The end point isn't as breathtaking but the climb is beautiful - as is often the case in New Zealand. For me, it's the same every time; I know I'm going to suffer.

But it's a great way to tighten those legs muscles and work the lungs! And, of course, the amazing views compensate for the pain - panoramic vistas across glaciers, mountain peaks and Aoraki / Mount Cook.  

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