Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is one of New Zealand’s biggest attractions and it is not going to lose this title anytime soon. The park is named after New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mt Cook which stands ruggedly majestic at over 3,700 metres tall.
Aside from Mount Cook, there are a variety of sights to explore in Mt Cook National Park. But because of the parks size, you’ll need a plan on how to effectively explore the park and make the most of your adventure. Below are the five best ways you can explore the beauty of Mount Cook Park and get the most incredible experience. So pack your bags, get your travel insurance and let’s go!
Short Walking Tracks In Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
If your endurance level is low, you can take short strolls through Aoraki Mt Cook village. Depending the path you take, the walk can last anywhere between ten minutes and an hour. The views are incredible and there is plenty of native flora and fauna to admire.
The Bowen bush walk
The Bowen Bush Walk starts from right beside the Mount Cook Backpacker Lodge. The walk will take you on a sightseeing loop through forest.
This walk ends at a lookout that provides an amazing view of the park including Mt Cook and Hooker Glacier. It is a thirty-minute walk that starts at the Hermitage Hotel and will take you through forest paths to the lookout.
Governors Bush walk
No, you will not come across any past or present Governors on this one-hour hike. You will however be presented with a stunning view of Wakefield Ridge and Aoraki Mt Cook. The view and photo op is well worth the hour long walk which is why it is a famous choice among tourists
Day Walks In Aoraki Mt Cook
If you have the energy and the endurance, why not take your hikes a step further to explore more of Mt Cook National Park? The day walks offer a full experience and you can leave from the Aoraki Mt Cook village.
Kea Point track
This is a two hour walk to Hooker Valley that starts at the Department of Conservation (DoC) centre. The walk will take you past the Mueller Glacier moraine wall and gorgeous grasslands. The walk will also include a journey through a path formed by a dry river bed, and it all ends with a panoramic view of The Footstool, Mueller Glacier lake, Hooker Valley, Mt Sefton, and Aoraki Mt Cook. That’s a huge reward for a two hour stroll.
Sealy Tarns track
If you want more of a challenge, the three to four-hour long Sealy Tarns track beckons. It starts with the Kea Point track which you will eventually deviate from. Fortunately, there are a lot of signs to guide your walk to your destination. At the end of the hike, you will be rewarded with another majestic view of Hooker Valley but from a different perspective.
Hooker Valley track
This walk starts at Kea Point and takes you through Hooker Valley towards Aoraki Mt Cook. The hike involves crossing swing bridges and a number of fabulous viewpoints until you get to Hooker Glacier and Aoraki Mt Cook. It’s a four hike that feels more like an epic quest through a magical land.
Flights Around Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
If you want a more laid back approach to exploring Mt Cook National Park, you can do your exploration from the skies. You can take a flight by helicopter, plane, or ski-plane. The flight typically takes thirty minutes and will offer you an aerial view of Mount Cook, Tasman Glacier, and New Zealand’s glacial lakes as well as alpine valleys.
Glacier Kayaking and Boating
If flying makes you nervous, then you can explore Mount Cook National Park from the water. You can enjoy this through kayaking trips which are on their own exciting. But kayaking is only permitted between early October and late April in the park. Kayaking will take you through Mueller Glacier Lake and provide you impressive views of looming mountains and glaciers.
Ski Down or Hike Inside the Tasman Glacier
If you are into the extreme life, there’s the option of skiing down Tasman Glacier (New Zealand’s longest glacier). It’s fast, it’s exhilarating, and it is beautiful. But heli-skiing can be pricey and is not for everyone. If you are into extreme snow sports, this might just be your best way to explore Cook National Park and get your adrenalin hit too!
These are the four best ways you can make the most out of a visit to Mount Cook National Park. Regardless which of these options you choose, remember the weather can change very quickly in NZ, so make sure you pack clothes for hot and cold weather!