Most significant and most visited alpine park in New Zealand is an unforgettable experience, especially for those whose love for adventure is indomitable. Besides the snow-capped mountains and placid lakes, this place of “outstanding” natural value is always buzzing with activities. In some corner or the other you would find travelers enjoying a safari, boating on the glacier lakes, or trying their hands at mountain climbing and skiing.
The region was established as a national park in October 1953. The area comprises reserves established as early as 1887 in order to protect its vegetation and landscape. It has now come under the supervision of New Zealand’s Department of Conservation.
Things to Do at Mount Cook National Park
Spend some time at the visitor center of the National Park that introduces you to some of the interesting facts. You can spend engaging hours exploring the artworks and watching videos about the area.
When you are done with mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, and trying other adventure sports, look for simple pleasure like hiking. Be it easy walks along defined trails or a tougher hiking experience in the wilderness of the Southern Alps, there is lot to be relished.
Stargazing turns into a celebration when you visit this national park. It is considered the International Dark Sky Reserve and one of the best stargazing venues on earth.
Those who want to have an eagle’s eye view of the national park can opt to fly over the region on a plane or helicopter. The flightseeing experience that you get is matchless.
Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre: Visit this center that showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region and its people. The custom-designed theater in the center is the only one in the world to have 2D, 3D and a Digital Dome Planetarium in one location.
Roberts Point – Trekking along the first track in the Franz Josef Glacier Valley is an experience worth having.
Besides, the Tasman Glacier and the Alpine Memorial are some of the attractions you can try near Mount Cook National Park.
Where is Mount Cook National Park?
The park is situated right at the core of South Island in the heart of the Southern Alps in Aoraki Mt Cook Village, New Zealand.
Location Map of Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
How to Reach?
By Air – Wanaka, in Otago, has the nearest airport to the Mount Cook National Park. It is around 189 km from there and calls for a two-hour drive. However, the park has its own airport serving domestic flights. Christchurch International Airport is the international gateway to this destination.
By Road – You have to fill your tank at Lake Tekapo or Twizel if you are driving. Shuttle bus services are available to Lake Tekapo and Twizel. It takes an hour and a half from Tekapo and an hour from Twizel. State Highway 80 takes you directly to Mount Cook Village.
Accommodation is not a problem in the Mount Cook National Park. Apart from the Hermitage Hotel, Glentanner Park Centre, and Mt Cook Backpacker Lodge, there are a couple of other hotels, motels, and camping options.
There are a number of fine dining restaurants in the vicinity. Panorama Restaurant, Glentanner Restaurant, Old Mountaineers, Alice May, Four Square, Full of Beans, Picnics, and Landing Bar & Restaurant are some of the recommended places to dine.
Best time to visit Mount Cook National Park
Weather out here is usually moderate and pleasant. Summers are generally hot while winters happen to be extremely cold. During the winters, landslides may take place in case of heavy snowfall. So, it is advisable that you visit the park during summers.
Things to Remember
- The Department of Conservation Visitor Center would ask the climbers to fill up trip intentions form, but they need not acquire prior permits.
- You will have local guides at your disposal to assist you in glacier skiing, walking, and climbing expeditions.
- Only professional and well-experienced mountaineers are allowed to try winter climbing.
- One has to be absolutely attentive and prepared for heavy snowfall, rainfall, and high winds as the weather can take sudden twists and turns out there.
Facts about Mount Cook National Park
- The Mount Cook National Park is around 3,753 meters above sea level. It is spread over an area of 70,696 hectares.
- This is the highest mountain peak in New Zealand.
- There are a total of 23 mountain peaks of over 3,000 meters in New Zealand. The Mount Cook National Park, alone, is home to 19 of those.
- Arthur’s Pass National Park
- Abel Tasman National Park
- Paparoa National Park
- Nelson Lakes National Park
- Mount Aspiring National Park
- Fiordland National Park
- Egmont National Park
- Tongariro National Park
PT20150926Published On: Thursday, September 17th, 2015