Where the path divides with the Kea Point Track, take the path on the left to head up to Sealy Tarns.

You will quickly find yourself swallowed up by the forest for a few minutes until you finally make it to the first steps of the so-called ‘stairway to heaven’. Making your way up the winding 2200 steps up to the tarns is the ultimate leg and glute workout. The step climb takes you a fair distance up into the mountains. The vegetation on the way up is minimal, so you can enjoy the views any time you choose to take a break—and you’ll be taking plenty of breaks!

The series of steps zigzag back and forth up the mountain for most of the way up. Eventually, the steps will start to take you towards the right until the top. At the top of the tarns, there is a table and bench where you can sit to take in the views and have a snack. You’ll have vista views of all the mountains and the valley, while being up close and personal with the snowy Mount Sefton.

Make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen or bring a windbreaker. There’s no hiding from the elements on this track.

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Mt Cook, South Island, New Zealand
  • Time needed: 3-4 hour walk
  • Distance: 5.8 km
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Bikes allowed: No
  • Route: Return
  • Elevation: 600m
  • Wet Feet: Yes, after snow or heavy rain. If starting from the village after heavy rain, the stream to cross could be quite deep.
  • Toilets: There are toilets in the village at the public shelter or the Hermitage Hotel. The campground also has toilets.
  • Dogs: No, dogs are not allowed in the Mount Cook National Park.
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes, very good
  • Last Updated: April, 2020

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Summary points about this walk

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