The Aoraki Mt Cook National park

Most of the things worth seeing in the Mt Cook National involve looking up - whether you’re stretching to reach New Zealand’s highest peaks, or gazing up in wonder at a sky unspoiled by urban lights. Mt Cook itself is the biggest draw of adventurous tourists to the area, but as well as being the home to New Zealand’s highest peak, there are also plenty of other mountains worth scaling. The nearby Tasman Glacier is a must see, with a range of activities available out on the ice. Here are a few things you can do whilst in the park....

Star Gazing

Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park helps make up what is New Zealand’s only International Dark Sky Reserve, which means it is one of the very finest places in the world to look up and star gaze. This chimes with this unspoilt region being renowned for presenting nature at its best, with very few sources of artificial light impeding your view of the night sky.

Mountaineering

The Aoraki Mt Cook National park

If conquering mountains is your thing, then there is no better place in the entirety of Australasia that you could be. As well as being the home of Mt Cook, by far New Zealand’s tallest mountain, its neighbours Tasman, Brun, Elie De Beaumont, Sefton and La Perouse are all nearby and in the top ten of the country’s highest peaks. There are local guides available if you want some advice and company on your way up, and be sure to go well prepared as the weather in this part of the world is notoriously fickle. Alternatively, skip the climb and take a seat in the Hermitage Hotel, whose bar overlooks the peak of Mt Cook.        

The Tasman Glacier

The Aoraki Mt Cook National park

With a length of 27km, and a depth of 600m, the Tasman Glacier is one of New Zealand’s largest. As well as being in itself an incredible spectacle, there are also a number of activities you can do amongst the ice. For water sports enthusiasts, between October and April you can arrange a sea kayaking tour on one of the glacier’s lakes, where you can paddle amongst the icebergs and get up close to the ice formations. For those who want to get out onto the ice, there are plenty of hiking and skiing opportunities, with many combining scenic helicopter flights which drop you on the glacier. Skiing is best during the winter months, and the wild Tasman Glacier is perfect for those seeking a challenging run.      

Mountain Walks

Let’s face it, adrenaline fuelled adventure isn’t for everyone. If you didn’t pack your ice axe or skis, then some of the walking routes within Mt Cook National Park offer equally stunning scenic views which will take your breath away, just not in the bad way. All of the hiking tracks are well marked, and the most popular include Kea Point and the Hooker Valley Track, as well as a few mountain passes for those looking for more of a challenge.