Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home to the highest mountains and the longest glaciers in New Zealand’s South Island. You’ll be able to see beautiful peaks, glaciers and snow fields all year long, in the heart of this cute lil’ alpine village.
The weather down there is quite whimsical; there’s lots of stories of travellers that stayed for weeks and couldn’t really see the mountain due to bad weather so we decided to stay for at least a couple of nights.
WHERE TO STAY
If you are climber you probably want to stay within the park, in the huts provided by the Department of Conservation. If you are only visiting you can stay in the actual village that offers pretty much everything, from hostels and lodges to camping sites and even luxury hotels.
The other option will be staying either in Twizel or Lake Tekapo towns, which are the closest and are only 40 minutes away by car.
WHAT TO DO
There are many cool activities to enjoy in the National Park, depending on your budget you can choose to do helicopter or scenic flights overlooking Mt. Cook, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, or if you like the water you can also take a boat ride around the amazing blue lakes in the area.
Tramping and bush walks are a huge thing as well, it’s free and you can take your time to take all this beauty in. The top 5 walks are:
The Hooker Valley Track – 3 hours return – easy
Mueller Hut Route – 4 hours one way – advanced
Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier Walks – 1 hour return – easy
The Sealy Tarn Track – 3 to 4 hours return – advanced
The Kea Point Walk – 1 hour return – easy
After a lot of thinking, we decided to go with the 2 popular walks that never disappoint: The Hooker Valley Track and The Blue Lakes and Glacier Walks.
The photos we took, even with our DSLR cameras, don’t do justice to these amazing spots. The views from the Southern Alps are truly unreal. From beginning to end you will find yourself amazed by the nature around you; from peaks to snow, to birds, to huts, to wooden bridges; a photographer’s dream come true!
Even getting to this alpine paradise is indescribably beautiful. The road that takes you to the village showcases awe inspiring landscapes; Lake Pukaki on one side, mountains on the other side and at the end of that picturesque long and winding road the handsome Mt. Cook in all its glory.