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Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park


The Māori name for Mt Cook is Aoraki, meaning Cloud Piercer, and this magic mountain certainly is that. At 3724m, Mt Cook is the highest mountain in Australasia, and if you’re into mountains and alpine environments, this is a place not to be missed.

Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park is home to 19 of the 23 NZ peaks that top 3000m, but you don’t have to be a mountaineer to enjoy the place. This is must stop on the drive between Christchurch and Queenstown, well worth the 55km (one-way) drive up the dead-end road off SH8 to Mt Cook Village.

The Hooker Valley Track makes an enjoyable half-day hike, while climbing up to Mueller Hut is an excellent full-day or overnight accomplishment. Explore Lake Tasman, the lake at the foot of the Tasman Glacier, by boat with Glacier Explorers, or just hang out at the informative Visitor Centre.

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Glacier Explorer

Take a small boat tour on Lake Tasman

Hooker Valley Track

Valley track to glacier lake below Mt Cook (3-4hrs)

Mt Cook NP Visitor Centre

Get track & weather info here

Mueller Hut Hike

Vigorous climb up to altitude (7-8hrs)

Text © Craig McLachlan

Image by lwtt93