The Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is alpine in the purest sense – with skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snow fields. Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain, helped Sir Edmund Hillary to develop his climbing skills in preparation for the conquest of Everest.
Although it encompasses 19 peaks over 3000 metres high, this park is very accessible. State Highway 80 leads to Aoraki/Mount Cook Village which is situated beside scenic Lake Pukaki and provides a comfortable base for alpine activities.
Mountaineers regard the area to be the best climbing region in Australasia, while less skilled adventurers find plenty of satisfaction with the mountain walks that lead to alpine tarns, herb fields and spectacular glacier views. Encounters with cheeky kea (mountain parrots) are part of the fun.
There are 10 short walks beginning near the village. All tracks are formed and well marked. The Red Tarns Track, Kea Point and the Hooker Valley Track each take around two hours return. For more experienced alpine hikers, there are three mountain pass routes – over the Mueller, Copland and Ball passes.
Glacier Flight & Heli Sightseeing
Helicopters and ski-planes provide access to the park’s fabulous glaciers. Landing among spectacular ice formations and caverns is the start of an unforgettable experience. From October until May, you can explore the Tasman Glacier’s terminal lake by boat.
Tasman Glacier Explorers
From October until May, you can explore the Tasman Glacier’s terminal lake by boat. Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer are readily accessible to travellers. By boat, you can explore the huge dripping iceface of New Zealand’s largest glacier. Watch and listen to the ice melting before your eyes in this tranquil glacial lake nestled in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.