Beautiful snow capped mountains and scenery
Expensive, especially the helicopter rides
This place is a must visit when you are at the South Island
Sir Edmund Hillary is famous for his ascent of Mt Everest being, with the assistance of his Sherpa, Tensing Norgay, the first person to set foot on the summit. Hillary learned his love of snow and ice and climbing in New Zealand and started his career as a climber on the slopes of Mt Cook. He has also crossed Antarctica via the South Pole.In his...more
The visitor centre at Mt Cook/Aoraki is quite amazing. It is full of imformation about the area including Maori history, wildlife, climbing history and the mountains. There are examples of Maori art and some beautiful stained glass windows featuring flora and fauna of the area.more
Mount Cook or in the Maori, Aoraki is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It is 3,754 metres high and is in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. It is a popular tourist destination all year round and on the list of challenges to mountain climbers. The Tasman Gacier (to the east) and the Hooker Glacier...more
We did the Glacier Explorers boat ride on the Tasman Lake in Jan 2009. We booked over the internet (google Glacier Explorers I think). It was pretty expensive but definitely worth it. They pick you up at the main hotel at Mt Cook Village (you also have several accomodation options there) and take you in a bus for about 15mins then you have to walk...more
We are not big walkers but on arriving at Mt Cook we were compelled to do a short walk. The weather was warm & sunny. Perfect for a walk. There are many walks to do around Mt Cook and the Tasman Valley seemed a good spot for us. It's about a 20 minute drive from Mt Cook Village and has some suitable walks for the likes of ourselves.As it was a...more
I was so regret didn't stay several nights in this area. To be honest, I didn't expect this beauty while I planned the trip. I thought it might be looked like Mt. Fuji in Japan which is so famous but offers nothing but disappointment. Perhaps I should plan for another trip to New Zealand soon.more
Even during summer, one-third of Mt. Cook National Park's area is permanently snow-covered. With the highest mountain in New Zealand (Aoraki/Mt. Cook) and the longest glacier in Australasia, plus 25 peaks over 3,000m and a few hundred over 2,000m, Mt. Cook National Park offers a very stunning view.more
For a few hundred dollars, we can join the heli or plane flights for a bird-eye view of the Mt. Cook and the area.The Mt. Cook National Park is sleepy while the crowds left, but there are many kind of activities to do in the area that worth the stay, such as several day-walks, Glacier Explorers boat tour to or kayaking on Tasman Glacier or 4WD...more
Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand at about 3700 metres, followed by Mount Tasman. These 2 magnificent mountains can be seen clearly on a good clear day during the journey to the Mount Cook National Park, but the best views are definitely from the helicopter ride.more
A great atmosphere with lots of natural timer and climbing artefacts. Open fires add to the snug feeling.Much of he food offered is organic or naturally processed.The view of Mt Cook from the huge picture window is spectacular. I had a Mountaineer Burger which was your basic hamburger with the lot but the bacon was naturally cured without...more
Unless you are packing your own food, there are only three dining options in Mount Cook. The two restaurants in the Hermitage Hotel are fine dining, but also take a hit on the wallet. The cafeteria or the "Sir Edmund Hillary Cafe" has adequate food, but again it is also very over priced for what you get.If you go down the hill slightly from the...more
One of the thing you must do on a clear day and you have money to spend is to take a helicopter ride to experience breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys, glaciers, rivers, lakes etc. The helicopter can also land on a glacier if the weather permits so that you will have a chance to experience standing on a glacier. A helicopter trip of about 45 minutes will cost about US$100 at least.
The Maori legend of Mount Cook is the story of Aoraki and his three brothers. They were the sons of Rakinui (the Sky Father) and were on a voyage around Papatuanuku (the Earth Mother) when disaster struck and they became stranded upon a reef. The voyagers climbed on to the top side of the canoe and after a time the south wind froze them and turned them into stone. Their canoe became the South Island (Te Waka o Aoraki is the oldest name for the South Isand) and Aoraki who stood tallest of the brothers is now seen as the majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook with the Southern Alps as his brothers and other members of this crew.
Around the Mountains the weather changes very fast. We left on a fine, sunny day to visit Mt. Cook, by the time we reached Lake Pukaki, the wind was high, and rain squalls were crossing the lake. We couldn't even see Mt. Cook for cloud and rain, and it was too dangerous to drive up there in a Campervan in the bad weather, so I never got to visit.
We stopped at the tourist information centre by the lake, and the lady told us a camper van had been blown over by the strong winds on Mt. Cook!
The warning is, don't go in bad weather and use your common sense!
As we didn't get to see Mount Cook because of bad weather, we drove on towards Twizel on SH 8. About half way along from Omarama, is the turnoff to Lake Ohau. I had read that this area was beautiful.The weather still was not kind to us, but we could make out the beauty of the area, and have vowed to return on a better day.more
There is an airfield near to the entrance of Mount Cook National Park (I think it is called Glentanner Fields) which is the base of the various helicopter rides to the national park. Besides taking the helicopter rides, there is a nice and cosy cafeteria where you can have your meals and enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Cook and surroundings on a...more
You will pass by some beautiful countryside on the way to Mount Cook National Park, including the town of Twizel where part of the Lord of the Rings movie was filmed at the nearby flat plains (the scene of the epic Battle of Pelenior Fields in "Return of the King"). Do stop by and explore these wonderful places if you have the time.more
One of the more popular "long" hikes is up to Hooker Lake at the base of Hooker Glacier. From the Hermitage it may take 1.5~2 hour minutes depending on your fitness, each way. The trail is well groomed and easy to walk, but there are still many rocks and is not entirely flat. Once you get to Hooker Lake, there will be large rocks you will have to...more
One of the more popular "short" hikes is up to Kea Point. From the Hermitage it may take 30~50 minutes depending on your fitness, each way. From the camping area is may take 20~35 minutes. The trail is well groomed and easy to walk, but there are still many rocks and is not entirely flat.In the entire path, you may only climb about 100m vertically,...more
One of the most physical of the trails in the park is the 6~7 hour round trip up to Mueller Hut. This trail follows the Sealy Tarns trail and continues where those taking their picnic lunches at the Tarns stop. From that junction, it is still another very physical 1.5+ hours up.There are some sections with loose rocks and the trail is marked with...more
During the helicopter ride which I took, we landed on a cliif area of a mountain across the valley of Mount Cook. This cliff offers super views of Mount Cook and other mountains of the Mount Cook National Park as well as offer us some fun playing with the snow.more