Mt Cook National Park walking & hiking guide
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is rugged, a land of ice & glaciers, rocks & mountains with a stunning alpine environment where you can walk or hike without being a climber. You’ll find a list of all our walks & hiking tracks below. Walks are listed randomly and include all the info you’ll need. There’s track highlights, history, track quality, elevation, length, time needed and a personal run down on what we think about the walk. Mt Cook National Park is an inspiring place to explore with walks from 10 mins to 5 hours.
Check out the Glaciers on your walks
There are five major valley systems with glaciers in Mt Cook National Park: Godley, Murchison, Tasman, Hooker and Mueller. There are also over 150 named smaller hanging glaciers on the mountainsides, which add to the dramatic landscape. Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s largest and longest glacier, is clearly visible from the main road at the entrance of the park. It is 27 kilometres long, up to 3 kilometres wide and extends over 100 square kilometres. Although covered with rock material in its lower reaches, the ice of the Tasman is about 600 metres deep near the Hochstetter icefall.
Safety in Mt Cook National Park – be prepared
Choose a walk that suits your fitness and experience, in the details of each walk you’ll find the fitness level required. Mt Cook National Park is not a place to muck around with, especially if you’re planning a longer walk.
Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
- Plan your trip
- Tell someone your plans
- Be aware of the weather
- Know your limits
- Take sufficient supplies including enough fresh drinking water
If you need more information, visit: www.mountainsafety.org.nz. For longer walks or hiking it’s best to take a NZTopo map with you. You’ll also need the correct clothes and supplies for your activity. We recommend you take:
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Sun hat in summer and warm hat in winter
- Extra warm clothing even in summer
- Waterproof jacket, it rains alot in Mt Cook
- Drinking water and food
- First aid kit
- Sunscreen for all year round
- Insect repellent (in summer months)
Watch out for the weather at Mt Cook
- The weather can change quickly – high winds are common and snow can fall at any time of year. Check the weather forecast regularly.
- Snow and ice conditions can be treacherous. Always walk with care over snow or ice.
- Avalanches can occur any time of the year but are most common in winter and spring. Take special care when travelling through known avalanche areas and check avalanche advisory.
- The alpine areas in the park are very exposed, and at any time of year, spending a long time in the sun or in hot conditions can lead to dehydration and severe sunburn – go well prepared.
Leave no trace on your walks
Always walk on the tracks provided and if camping out make sure it’s on durable ground, not harming any of our wonderful nature. Take your rubbish with you, please. Be aware of “didymo” and do your bit not to spread it or other freshwater pests. Remember to check, clean and dry your hiking boots before entering or moving between streams, creeks and rivers.
Frequently asked questions on Mt Cook walks
No, is the quick answer on any DOC land, although you can get a permit to fly your drone (from DOC), including private and non-commercial use. Applying for the permit for the first time can be a little tricky, there is a free pre-application meeting then you need to contact the local iwi to assess whether your proposed activity will have any cultural effects. Oh, and it’ll cost for each DOC region you apply to use your drone. Use DOC Maps to help you find each region.
Our Tips & Tricks on booking your trip to Mt Cook:
We’ve found the best prices for your hiking or walking trip in Mt Cook in New Zealand. Great deals on things like accommodation, transport and tours.
Lowest Price Guarantee on Campervan Hire from Queenstown Airport – Compare Prices of 15 Motorhome Companies
Jucy Rentals are definitely the cheapest with a really big range of camper-vans. If you’re looking for a van you can stand up in or with a bit more room then try Mighty. Britz and Maui are very popular, they cater for small and really big campers.
Book your rental car at the best price here:
I’ve found the prices quite competitive for rental cars from RentalCars, they have a huge selection from lots of different suppliers so you can price check. Use the form below to see what they have on offer.
Where’s the best place to stay before hiking in Mt Cook:
I always use Booking.com instead of Airbnb for all my accommodation now. It works out cheaper, they don’t have those extra “Service Fees” or extra “cleaning fees”. Looks cheap until you get to pay. Plus Booking.com have a lot of holiday homes now, pretty much the same selection as Airbnb. You won’t miss out on the range. Plug in your dates in the form below and you’ll see availability.
Don’t forget your travel insurance:
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past especially for medical. I’ve been using World Nomads for years and it’s very good.