Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is one of New Zealand’s top National Parks, covering over 700 square kilometers in the heart of the Southern Alps. Located in the Canterbury Region on the South Island, the park is full of 3,000-meter tall peaks and dramatic glaciers. The park is named after its highest summit, which measures 3,724 meters tall and is the tallest mountain in New Zealand. The mountain was named Aoraki by the Ngāi Tahu that inhabited the area before Europeans arrived, subsequently naming the mountain after the English navigator who discovered New Zealand. Today both names are used, and the mountain is known as Aoraki/Mount Cook.
Even though the mountains are dramatic, visitors can easy drive right into Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and start exploring. Mount Cook Village provides lodging and amenities, and nearby White Horse Hill Campground is a great place to camp amidst the park’s fantastic hiking trails. For a stunning day hike that’s not too challenging, take Hooker Valley Track up to an iceberg-filled lake below Mount Cook. For something super steep and scenic, ascend the Sealy Range to Sealy Tarns and Mueller Hut – it’s an experience you will never forget. For easy outings to beautiful viewpionts, take short walks to Kea Point and Tasman Glacier View. Aoraki Mount Cook National Park in an incredible place to visit that belongs on the itinerary of any outdoor enthusiast visiting New Zealand’s South Island.
Dogs and other pets are not allowed in Mount Cook Village, the campground, or on any of the tracks in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Bikes are not allowed on hiking tracks, but they are permitted on vehicle roads and a few cycleways, like the bike trails bordering Hooker Valley Road and Tasman Valley Road.
Tracks in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park has hikes ranging from easy to difficult that all deliver rewarding views.
|Hooker Valley Track|
This superb 11-kilometer round trip hike heads up Hooker Valley to an iceberg-filled lake at the end of an impressive glacier below Mount Cook.
|Kea Point Track|
This easier 3-kilometer round trip walk goes to landing above Mueller Lake with views of Mount Sefton and Mount Cook.
|Sealy Tarns Track|
This incredibly steep and incredibly scenic 5.8-kilometer round trip hike uses a string of staircases to ascend a mountainside to pools that reflect views of Mount Sefton and Mount Cook.
|Mueller Hut Route|
Ascend past Sealy Tarns on a rough route to a famed hut for a 10.5-kilometer round trip hike with spectacular views.
This 1,933-meter tall summit can be reached by ascending above Mueller Hut for even grander views.
|Tasman Glacier View & Blue Lakes|
This pair of tracks combine for a hike of 1.85 kilometers round trip (or more) with views of small emerald pools and a large milky lake below Tasman Glacier.
Camping in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
A campground is located close to Mount Cook Village and several hiking tracks.
|White Horse Hill Campground|
This 60-site campground is surrounded by great hiking tracks and just a few kilometers from Mount Cook Village, making it an ideal place to stay during a visit to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.