Mount Cook National Park is located in the central South Island, on the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps. It is accessible from both Wanaka in the west and Geraldine in the east. Following Highway 8 to the township of Twizel, then the 56km on Highway 80, leads you into Mt Cook Village at an elevation of just 750 metres. Mt Cook Line and Intercity buses service Mt Cook Village from Twizel, Wanaka & Christchurch daily.
New Zealand's highest mountain (Aoraki), 14 more peaks higher than 3000 metres and the gigantic Tasman, Hooker, Mueller and Murchison Glaciers are within this National Park.
The Alpine Village of Mt Cook, offers a wide range of accommodation styles, restaurants, grocery shop, Alpine Mountaineering shop & mountain guides, and our Visitor Information Centre.
Day walks vary from short forest strolls, to demanding mountain climbs. Be aware that this alpine environment is notorious for rapid weather changes, and some of the day or overnight walks can be extremely hazardous in winter / spring conditions.
Information on all short walks is available from the Visitor Information Centre. Look for these names ... Kea Point, Sealy Tarns, Red Tarns - Mt Sebastopol, Bowen Track, Governor's Bush.
Mount Cook National Park is in the most mountainous region of New Zealand, and as such does not lend itself to "tramping". It is mostly mountaineering territory, where such skills as avalanche assessment, ropework, glacier travel, weather prediction, and survival techniques are prerequisites of any journey into the park.
Places like Hooker Hut & Copland Shelter, are not on tramping routes, this route having claimed many lives in the last few years. Even places like the famous Mueller Hut can only be tackled in almost perfect conditions.
Before venturing out into the hills at Mt Cook, please talk with Park staff at the Visitor Information Centre to hear their professional opinion of conditions in the park.
A ROUGH GUIDE TO...
In Mt Cook Village there is the THC Hotel, Lodge, Motel and Backpackers. There is also a Youth Hostel. Near the Mt Cook airport is the New Zealand Alpine Club Hut (Unwin Hut). At Whitehorse Hill there is a DoC campsite.
Some 15minutes before you reach Mt Cook Village is Glentanner Park, which offers a range of accommodation including cabins, caravans and camping sites.
Mt Cook Village has a Post Office, Petrol Sales, Grocery Store (expensive), a Mountain Guides shop selling and hiring outdoor equipment, and a Public Bar.
Mt Cook Line charter snow-plane aircraft to land on the upper Tasman Glacier, and can fly climbers into some huts on request.
The Helicopter Line operates from Glenntanner Park, and provides scenic flights about the Park, but cannot land in the Park.