Things to do in Mount Cook

Mount Cook

Mount Cook is the highest point in New Zealand, and is home to some of the most epic views in New Zealand.

There’s not a lot to do in Mount Cook Village itself (yes, village, it’s a very small place!) but the surrounding area’s are full of things to see and do.

Here are our top things to do in Mount Cook.

Hiking at Mount Cook

Like the rest of New Zealand, there are plenty of great options to go walking, hiking, or tramping in Mount Cook

Check out the DOC’s guide to walking at Mount Cook

Unless otherwise stated, each of the following hikes start at White Horse Hill Campground and Carpark

Hooker Valley

Easily one of the best walks around for effort vs payoff.

The Hooker Valley Track walk is 5km one way and takes you all the way to to Hooker Lake, with views of the Hooker Glacier.

The entire walk is very beautiful, with multiple perspectives of the lakes, mountains, and glaciers available en route.

If you can, try to make sure you walk on a clear day! In a matter of hours, epic views can become near zero visibility.

Sealy Tarns

A pretty strenuous hike, with an awesome view of Mount Cook from the top

The Sealy Tarns Track is all up. Around 2200 steps take you up the side of the mountain.

It may be tough, but the view at the end makes it totally worth the effort!

Mueller Hut

After making your way to Sealy Tarns, you have the option to carry on to Mueller Hut.

Taking around another 2 hours, you’ll be rewarded with more great views of Mount Cook, but also 360 degree panoramic views of the Alps and the surrounding area.

Get a Mount Cook road photo

One of the most iconic photo’s on any tourist photo reel is the Mount Cook road shot!

Stargazing

Part of the McKenzie Disctrict Dark Sky Reserve, you’ll be able to get some amazing views of the night sky with little or no light pollution of any kind. Even flights are forbidden from crossing this air space!

If you are expecting a clear night, be sure to wrap up, maybe grab your camera, and get outside to catch some truly epic views into space with Mount Cook as a backdrop.

Glaciers

There are many smaller glaciers to be seen at the top of the mountains. The main attractions here are the Hooker and Tasman glaciers

You can get great views on foot from each of these from their respective tracks, or you can explore by air or water

Mount Cook Scenic Flights

If you’re after the best views of the mountains and glaciers, you’ll need to get high!

You can take a flight from a few different locations (even from further afield), or you can take a helicopter ride.

This will let you get up close and personal with the mountains, and even a chance to get out and take a stroll near the top!

Boat tour

Want to get closer to the action but stay close to the ground? You can take a boat tour on Tasman Lake

Cycling

Alps2Ocean

White Horse Hill Campground is the official start point of the Alps2Ocean cycle trail, a 310km cycle trail leading from the Alps to the Ocean (in case the name didn’t give it away!)

Starting from here, you need to take a helicopter to cross the glacial river feeding Lake Pukaki. However, there is an alternative start point at Lake Tekapo for those who don’t want to do this!

Interested in cycling in New Zealand?

Check out the Great Rides app for New Zealand rides, or Trailforks for mountain biking (and more) worldwide.

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