At 3754 meters Aoraki-Mt. Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain, located deep in the heart of the Southern Alps. From the Visitor Centre at the southern end of Lake Pukaki, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of this immense peak. As well as its impressive beauty, Mt. Cook National Park is also home to a huge range of awe-inspiring sights and activities. Take to the air with Mt. Cook Ski Planes for a scenic flight that includes a glacier landing. At around 27 kilometres long the Tasman Glacier is New Zealand's longest and a Glacier Explorers tour will give you the opportunity to see its unique features.
There are many short hikes in and around the park and these are well signposted. For a fascinating guided tour, the Mt. Cook Encounter Guided walk is a must-do and those with an interest in the night sky should take a stargazing tour with the Hermitage Hotel. The region is considered to have one of the clearest night skies in the world and is one of the few gold-rated dark sky reserves worldwide.
The Hermitage Hotel complex offers fine dining, multiple cafes and a bar. Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre for insight into this region’s mountain climbing history. You’ll also learn of Sir Ed's incredible achievements and his dedication to helping others around the world.
Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.
Mount Cook is far from the city lights and therefore has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand - perfect for viewing the night sky! Their fully trained guides are delighted to show you the beautiful southern night sky using the naked eye, state of the art astronomy telescopes and binoculars at the outdoor viewing platform or if the weather is not favourable then there will be an indoor alternative featuring New Zealand’s first full dome digital Planetarium – high definition video images on a suspended 9m wide x 4.5m high full dome. Unleash your imagination as you discover the night sky including the Southern Cross, seasonal ecliptic objects, planets, star clusters, moons, distant galaxies and even our very own galaxy, the spectacular Milky Way!
A tribute to New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary - humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world's greatest explorers - the centre showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region and its people within a comprehensive museum as well as a 126-seat custom-designed theatre and Digital Dome Planetarium.
The Tasman Glacier is the largest of several glaciers which flow south and east towards the Mackenzie Basin from the Southern Alps. At 27kms in length, the Tasman Glacier is New Zealand's longest glacier. The glacier covers an area of 101 square kilometres and starts at a height of 3000m above sea level. You will witness the beauty of the Tasman Glacier Lake and the stunning ice formations from the helicopter as you fly over. Once you descend and step foot onto the ice you will breath fresh alpine air as your guide introduces you to the world of the Tasman Glacier.
On this flight you'll have the chance to experience some of the most breathtaking scenery in New Zealand. View Mount Cook, Westland, Mt Tasman as well as the Fox, Franz Josef and Tasman Glaciers. First traverse the Southern Alps to the West Coast then Track North along the Tasman Sea before re-crossing the Alps to the Tasman Glacier. If the weather conditions are right, you'll also experience a glacier landing before taking a final loop through the mountains.
Take in the spectacular Southern Alps - including New Zealand's highest peak Aoraki Mount Cook - and the constantly changing glacial landscape. See the Hochstetter Icefall as you fly beneath the face of Mount Cook then along the length of the Tasman glacier before landing on the glacier itself. Experience the silence of the mountains, broken only by the rumbling of an avalanche and creaking of the snow and ice beneath your feet. You'll take off again for another incredible flight over peaks, ice falls, alpine lakes and climbing huts. This flight offers fantastic close up views of Aoraki Mount Cook, Mt Tasman and the Southern Alps from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.
The Mount Cook Encounter Walk is an 8km guided tour of the Hooker Valley, providing breath-taking views of some of New Zealand's highest and most enthralling peaks. Your knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide will talk about the unique flora and fauna of the region and the local history as you trek through this amazing landscape. From The Hermitage Hotel, head to the White Horse Hill camping ground. The journey takes in the poignant Alpine Memorial and passes over the turbulent Hooker River twice by swing bridge to unsurpassed vistas of Aoraki Mount Cook's south face and the surrounding glaciers and mountains, then continue to the terminal lake of the Hooker Glacier. A Packed lunch is included on this full day walk.
The legendary voyage that includes getting up close and personal with a real glacier and icebergs. Sea-Kayak into pristine glacial bays surrounded by glacial ice and you may be able to Sea-Kayak near to or even touch ice bergs. Experience the beauty and peaceful nature this quiet zone of Aoraki/Mt Cook has to offer. Listen to avalanches thundering off the slopes of Mt. Sefton from a safe distance.
The Helicopter Line's premier flight over the Mt Cook National Park and its vast glaciers and snowfields. See the ancient waters of the Tasman Glacier Lake before flying the length of the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand's Longest Glacier. Experience what it feels like to stand in snow amongst the mountains as you take in a spectacular view of New Zealand's highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook during your snow landing. Cross to the West Coast and view the formidable Franz Josef and Fox glaciers before completing your journey with uninterrupted views of the summit ridge of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line's operations in Queenstown or the West Coast.
This 45 minute flight takes you on a journey to discover Aoraki/ Mt Cook National park. Flying the full length of the Tasman Glacier viewing this incredible Alpine region with amazing views of New Zealand's highest peak Aoraki Mt Cook before landing on the magnificent Tasman Glacier. This majestic flight allows you to discover some of the many hidden treasures within the National Park. An experience with the X Factor.
View the spectacular Aoraki Mount Cook from above on this 55 minute scenic flight. See the incredible scenery surrounding New Zealand's tallest peak, including hanging glaciers, calved icebergs, rivers of ice, the forests of the West Coast and the renowned Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. You'll also land on the glacier itself - a truly unique experience.
See the incredible Aoraki National Park from above with a scenic flight, before jumping out of your plane and experiencing it in freefall, reaching speeds of up to 200km/hr!
Once your parachute opens, you gently drift over the Abel Tasman with breathtakingly beautiful views of the mountains, rivers, and the ocean. At this point, you’ll either be stunned to silence or screaming for joy! It’s an indescribable feeling that you will never forget!
The Tasman Glacier is New Zealand's largest at around 27 kilometres long. Easy access to the moraine wall is via the Tasman Valley road and then a short climb up onto the hill. You are rewarded with a view of a desolate rock strewn landscape sitting on top of hundreds of metres of ice. Back down the valley the river eventually flows into Lake Pukaki and its hard to imagine the colour of the water in the Tasman Glacier lake eventually becoming the bright turquoise of Lake Pukaki. The best way to experience the glacier though is to take a Mt. Cook Ski Plane and actually land on the snow fields at the top. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Alpine Restaurant located at The Hermitage Hotel offers sumptuous buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, accompanied by spectacular views of Aoraki Mount Cook from every seat. Enjoy a vast buffet including a wide range of foods such as soup, salads, seafood, hot and cold meats and desserts with tea and coffee to follow.
There are many short scenic walks beginning in and around the Mt. Cook Village, suitable for all ages and abilities. Located within the Mount Cook Village is the Department of Conservation information centre, where updates on the track conditions and suitability is available as well as information on the history of the area and its wildlife.
Below is a snapshot of some of the walks available:
- Bowen Bush Walk - 10 minute return
- Glencoe Walk - 10 minute return
- Red Tarns Track - 2 hour return
- Kea Point Walk - 2 hour return
- Hooker Lake - 4 hour return