Book this experience

Travel Guide of Mount Cook in New Zealand by Influencers and Travelers

Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height, as of 2014, is listed as 3,724 metres. It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island.

Pictures and Stories of Mount Cook from Influencers

20 pictures of Mount Cook from Jordan Heath, Aleksandar Jason, Casey Horner and other travelers

Plan your trip in Mount Cook with AI 🤖 🗺 is a AI powered trip planner that you can use to generate a customized trip itinerary for any destination in New Zealand in just one click

Just write your activities preferences, budget and number of days travelling and our artificial intelligence will do the rest for you

👉 Use the AI Trip Planner

How to visit Mount Cook ?

To get to Mount Cook, fly into Christchurch or Queenstown, the closest international airports. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus to the Mount Cook Village, which is approximately a 3 to 4-hour drive. The drive itself is an attraction, as you'll pass through picturesque landscapes and enjoy stunning views of the Southern Alps.

It's essential to book some activities in advance, especially during the peak season from November to April. Popular options include guided hiking tours, scenic flights, and glacier explorations. If you're planning to do the famous Hooker Valley Track, no booking is required, but it's advised to start early in the day to avoid crowds.

Costs vary depending on the activities you choose. Scenic flights range from NZD$200-500, while guided hiking tours start around NZD$100. Accommodation prices vary as well, but expect to pay around NZD$30 for a dorm bed or NZD$100-200 for a private room in a lodge or motel.

The best things to do in Mount Cook include hiking the Hooker Valley Track, which offers unbeatable views of Aoraki and the surrounding glaciers. For a more challenging option, the Sealy Tarns Track provides panoramic vistas of the entire region. Stargazing is another must-do, as Mount Cook is part of an International Dark Sky Reserve, offering some of the clearest night skies in the world.

For dining options, try The Old Mountaineers' Café, Bar & Restaurant, which offers delicious meals with a focus on locally sourced ingredients, or the Chamois Bar & Grill for a casual atmosphere and hearty pub fare. For a special treat, reserve a spot at the Panorama Room at The Hermitage Hotel, where you can enjoy fine dining with unbeatable views of Mount Cook.

Accommodation options include the iconic Hermitage Hotel, which offers luxury rooms, fine dining, and access to various activities. For budget travelers, the Mount Cook Lodge & Motels and the YHA Mount Cook offer affordable options and a friendly atmosphere.

Off the beaten path: For an unforgettable and unique experience, consider booking a heli-hiking tour on the Tasman Glacier. This excursion combines a scenic helicopter flight with a guided walk on the glacier, allowing you to explore ice caves, crevasses, and other glacial features up close. This thrilling adventure provides a once-in-a-lifetime perspective on the majestic beauty of Mount Cook National Park.

   Book your Travel Experience at Mount Cook

Discover the best tours and activities around Mount Cook, New Zealand and book your travel experience today with our booking partners

  Map of Mount Cook

View Mount Cook on a map

   More Travel spots to explore around Mount Cook

Click on the pictures to learn more about the places and to get directions

Discover more travel spots to explore around Mount Cook

  ❄️ Glacial landform spots     ⛰️ Summit spots     ⛰️ Highland spots     🛣️ Road trip spots     ⛰️ Hill station spots     ❄️ Glacial lake spots     ⛰️ Hill spots     ⛰️ Mountain range spots     ⛰️ Mountaineering spots     ❄️ Tundra spots     🐾 Wildlife spots  

Learn More about Mount Cook

Mount Cook National Park is made up of nearly 150 peaks over 2,000 meters in height

In total, there are more than 70 glaciers scattered among the rocky valleys and ridges that form a breathtaking landscape at the end of the world.

Mount Cook is the roof of New Zealand at 3754 meters

A monster that dominates the rest of the park, as sacred in the Maori culture as it is attractive to outdoor enthusiasts.
The name "Cook" of the mountain was given by the British crown in honor of the navigator James Cook, who passed through New Zealand many times during his various trips around the world.

 However, today the name of the mountain is no longer just Mount Cook but Aoraki / Mount Cook.
This name became official after the return of the mountain and its surroundings to the Ngāi Tahu tribe.

 This tribe is named the mountain Aoraki, about a Maori legend.
The Southern Alps, the mountain range of which Aoraki / Mount Cook is part, is the result of plate tectonics. Indeed, the Pacific plate pushes from East to West the Australian plate and makes Aoraki / Mount Cook rise by about 7 millimeters per year.

The Maori legend

The Maori legend tells us the story of a young Aoraki man and his three younger brothers, sons of Rangi and Papa (Father Sky and Mother Earth) who are sailing on the ocean in canoes around Papatuanuku (Mother Earth). After hitting a reef, their canoe capsizes, and the brothers find refuge on it as an icy wind turns them to stone. Their canoe, Te Waka o Aoraki, now represents the South Island of New Zealand, Aoraki, the largest of the brothers, Mount Cook and his brothers Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, the chain of the Southern Alps.

Some highlights of the history of Aoraki / Mount Cook

Although Mount Cook still rises several millimeters each year, history has not spared this mountain. Since its first measurement in 1881, Mount Cook's elevation has dropped from 3,764 meters to 3,724 meters. This loss of altitude of more than 40 meters is, in fact, due to various landslides that have planned the summit of the mountain over the years.
The most important one, which occurred in 1991, moved more than 12 million cubic meters of rock.
It was on December 25, 1894, that a team of three New Zealanders managed to reach the summit.

Fauna and Flora around Aoraki / Mount Cook

Despite the altitude, the fauna and flora are very present on Mount Cook. You will have the opportunity to see many different plants, some of which are unique in the world. 

Indeed, the Mount Cook lily is a unique plant that grows only on the South Island of New Zealand and only at high altitudes. The petals of this flower have the distinction of being among the largest petals in the world.

In summer, around the Hooker Valley Track, you will be able to see Tutu bushes, an endemic plant of New Zealand which gives small red berries. Be careful, you must not eat these berries, nor even touch this plant. It contains a very dangerous poison called Tutin.
On the wildlife side, you can see many species of birds such as Paradise shelducks, New Zealand falcons, or the famous Kea. (Be careful, you should not feed the animals you meet). Many species of butterflies also inhabit the valley.

 Hiking from Aoraki / Mount Cook

The area around Aoraki / Mount Cook is great for hiking. Indeed, the breathtaking landscapes, as well as the numerous hiking trails, are favorable to this activity. 
Small precision, for those who are wondering, 
The summit is very difficult to reach, only by professionals equipped for mountaineering. Climbing Mount Cook is a feat that only the most experienced people can accomplish.

Frequently Asked Questions by Travelers planning a trip to Mount Cook

Where is Mount Cook National Park ?

Mount Cook (Aoraki) is located in the central west of the South Island of New Zealand, in the Canterbury area.
It is only about 30 km from the Tasman Sea. However, to get to the western side of the Southern Alps range, it is necessary to travel more than 450 km or about 6 hours by car.

Mount Cook National Park includes almost all of New Zealand's mountains above 3,000 meters except for Mount Aspiring. The highest is Mount Cook itself with an altitude of 3,724 meters. This also makes it the highest mountain in New Zealand. Mount Cook gives birth to the Hooker Glacier on its western side and feeds the Tasman Glacier, the longest in New Zealand, on its eastern side.

Here is our list of the 7 best hikes in Mount Cook

1 - Hooker Valley Hike

2 - Kea Point Hike

3 - Sealy Tarns Hike

4 - Mueller hut hike

5 - Tasman Lake Hike

6 - Blue Lakes & Tasman Glacier Hike

7 - Ball Hut Hike

   Where to Stay near Mount Cook

Discover the best hotels around Mount Cook, New Zealand and book your stay today with our booking partner

    Find Hotels

Popular destinations near Mount Cook

Disover the best Instagram Spots around Mount Cook here

   Book Flights to Mount Cook, New Zealand

  • Share This Travel Guide

Book the Mount Cook experience