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Walks and Hikes in the Aoraki / Mount Cook Area

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park has some of the best walks in the country.  The scenery is spectacular, with the tallest peak in New Zealand, Aoraki Mount Cook, soaring above at a height of 3754 metres.

From an easy stroll along a formed path to a gruelling ascent of Mount Cook, there is something for all abilities in Mount Cook National Park.  We have included a selection here, but for more walks and hikes and detailed maps please see your nearest DOC office or the Lake Pukaki Visitor Centre.

Walking Tracks

A selection of walks from Mount Cook Village:

Governors Bush Walk

Duration

5 minutes, 1.5 km

How to get there

Turn off State Highway at Lake Pukaki onto State Highway 80.  This walk starts and finishes at the public shelter at Aoraki Mt Cook village.

Intensity

Easy – suitable for most levels of fitness

Description of walk

The track meanders through silver beech forest where Fantail and Kea are common.  A gradual climb leads to a lookout point before the track descends and returns to the village. This popular walk offers birdlife, a good viewpoint of the mountains and shelter in poor weather and is a great walk for children as it is a good place for them to run around in a natural landscape.

Facilities & important information

  • There are toilets, hot water, shower and picnic area available at the public shelter.
  • Babies and small toddlers may need to be carried in a backpack.

Kea Point Walk

Duration

1 hour, 2.8 km

How to get there

Turn off State Highway at Lake Pukaki onto State Highway 80.  This walk starts at the White Horse Hill campground and car park.

Intensity

Relatively easy, some gradual uphill and downhill sections

Description of walk

This walk gently winds its way through sub-alpine grasslands and scrub to the Mueller Glacier moraine wall. The walk ends at a viewing deck that gives stunning views on a clear day of Mt Sefton and Footstool, the Hooker Valley, Mueller Glacier Lake and Aoraki Mount Cook.

Facilities & important information

  • The campground is at the start of the walk, other facilities are available at Mt Cook Village.
  • This is an exposed walk so take care on wet or windy days.  In good weather, an all terrain buggy can be pushed along this track.
  • Reasonably sturdy shoes are recommended.

Glencoe Walk

Duration

30 minutes

How to get there

Turn off State Highway at Lake Pukaki onto State Highway 80.  This walk starts and finishes behind The Hermitage.

Intensity

Relatively easy

Description of walk

The walk zigzags through totara trees with a ferny understorey, emerging at a lookout near the prominent water tanks above the Hermitage. Walkers are rewarded with a birds-eye view of the village and beyond to the white ice of the Hooker Glacier and Aoraki Mount Cook. Sunrise and sunset are good times to catch light-play on the mountains.

Facilities & important information

  • Public toilets, information centre, accommodation and dining options are available in Mt Cook Village.
  • As with all walks in this area, be prepared for changeable weather conditions.

Hooker Valley Track

Duration

Up to 4 hours

How to get there

Turn off State Highway at Lake Pukaki onto State Highway 80.  Begin at the Visitor Centre, or White Horse Hill Campground and car park.

Intensity

Moderate - a reasonable level of fitness is required to enjoy this walk

Description of walk

This is one of the most popular walks in the park, leading up the Hooker Valley towards Aoraki Mount Cook. The track passes close to the Alpine Memorial which is a great viewpoint. Continue on to the Hooker River and cross twice on swing bridges before reaching Stocking Stream Shelter. From here, head up the valley crossing a third swing bridge that leads to the East Hooker and the source of the Hooker River. The track ends at the glacier lake where there are amazing views of Aoraki Mount Cook, the Hooker Glacier and the Southern Alps.

Facilities & important information

  • Public toilets, information centre, accommodation and dining options are available in Mt Cook Village.
  • As with all walks in this area, be prepared for changeable weather conditions.

For more walks or detailed maps please contact DOC or the Mt Cook National Park DOC visitor information centre.

Tramping Tracks

A selection of tramping/hiking tracks in the Mount Cook area:

Sealy Tarns Track

Duration

3-4 hours

How to get there

Turn off State Highway at Lake Pukaki onto State Highway 80.  This walk starts and finishes at The Hermitage lawn.

Intensity

Moderate - some steep uphill climbs.  A good level of fitness is required to enjoy this hike.

Description of hike

Cross the road to the track sign and branch off at the signpost to climb steeply up to the tarns.  This energetic walk gives spectacular views of the Hooker Valley and the peaks of the area including Aoraki Mount Cook.  An abundance of alpine flowers in summer, and the view from the tarns makes the effort well worthwhile.

Facilities & important information

  • Public toilets, information centre, accommodation and dining options are available in Mt Cook Village.
  • This track is mostly formed and is steep in places

Ball Pass Route

Duration

4 hours one way

How to get there

This track starts from the Blue Lakes car park

Intensity

Moderate - a good level of fitness is required to undertake this hike

Description of hike

Follow the line of the old Ball Hut Road alongside Tasman Glacier. Ball Flat is close to the historic Ball Hut site and offers superb views of the glacier and surrounding peaks.

Facilities & important information

  • Public toilets, information centre, accommodation and dining options are available in Mt Cook Village.
  • Take care, as the moraine wall in this area and along the road is very unstable.
  • Sign your intentions at the Visitor Centre if you wish to stay at the hut, which costs $8 a night.

For more hikes or detailed maps please contact DOC or the Mt Cook DOC visitor information centre.

 

Mountain Climbing

Climbing in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is a popular activity and hundreds of climbers enjoy the Southern Alps each year.  

Participants need to be extremely fit and experienced in snow travel and the use of mountain climbing equipment such as ice axes and crampons and techniques such as fixed rope belaying.  If you are unsure about any of these things, it is wise to hire a guide. 

One of the most popular alpine adventures in the National Park is the Ball Pass Crossing, which is a demanding two to three day route, which crosses the Mount Cook range between the Hooker and Tasman Valleys. 

Please contact DOC for further information about climbing in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, or contact one of the guiding companies listed in our Mountaineering section.