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Travel Guide of Mount Cook in New Zealand by Influencers

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.

Welcome to the Hatlas Travel's Guide of Mount Cook !

Discover our travel guide of Mount Cook in New Zealand made of pictures from travel influencers and photographers.

What you will see and do in Mount Cook:

  ❄️ Glacial landform     ⛰️ Summit     🛣️ Road trip     ❄️ Tundra     ⛰️ Highland     🐾 Wildlife  

Travel Tips for visiting 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

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   Our 20 Best Travel Pictures of Mount Cook

Taken and shared by travel photographers and influencers who have traveled to Mount Cook in New Zealand such as Jordan Heath, Aleksandar Jason, Casey Horner. Click on the pictures to read their stories

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   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  

  Travel map of Mount Cook

Explore 18 popular touristic places around Mount Cook with pictures shared by travelers, influencers and photographers... Click on the photos to read the travel guide of the destination

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

  9.7 km (6.0 miles) away from Mount Cook

  Travel guide of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Westland Tai Poutini National Park

  10.8 km (6.7 miles) away from Mount Cook

  Travel guide of Westland Tai Poutini National Park

Aoraki/Mount Cook

  13.8 km (8.6 miles) away from Mount Cook

  Travel guide of Aoraki/Mount Cook

Lake Matheson

  22.5 km (14.0 miles) away from Mount Cook

  Travel guide of Lake Matheson

Church of the Good Shepherd

  53.0 km (32.9 miles) away from Mount Cook

  Travel guide of Church of the Good Shepherd
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