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Mount Cook National Park is a fantastic place to enjoy New Zealand’s winter, with skiing and snow sports, hot springs, and snow-capped mountains and glaciers sparkling in the sun. During summer, water sports and hiking are popular. Enjoy the scenic beauty while hiking near mountain peaks, beech forests and a landscape carved by glacial movement.
The park has hikes suited to all levels of fitness. Listen for fantails and kea parrots in the beech forest on the short Governor’s Bush Walk. The Kea Point and Glencoe walks are also short and easy, with rewarding Mount Cook views. For a longer walk, admire the mountain’s beauty from the 4-hour-long Hooker Valley Track which runs to the Hooker Glacier. Rest at Mount Cook Village and enjoy a hearty meal in one of the cosy restaurants or bars.
Adventurers can join a Mount Cook mountaineering expedition. Sir Edmund Hillary used the mountain to train for his historic Mount Everest climb. Mountaineering courses, not for the fainthearted, are offered on the peaks.
Head to Tekapo Springs to get warm in the hot pools. Enjoy views of mountain snowcaps from the outdoor pools or try the outdoor ice-skating rink, open between April and September. You can even try snow tubing. Nearby Lake Tekapo is a great base during the summer for horse riding, water skiing, mountain biking and boat cruises exploring the lake and its islands.
Ski atop the Tasman Glacier. Ski planes will fly you in over the stunning landscape for your adventure. In warmer months, catch a boat from Mount Cook Village to the glacier or take a guided kayaking tour to explore the terminus lake where icebergs form caverns and bridges.
Accommodation at Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo ranges from camping and backpacker lodging to five-star spa-resorts. It’s 261 kilometres (162 miles) to the national park from Queenstown and 329 kilometres (204 miles) from Christchurch. The villages of Mount Cook, Lake Tekapo and Twizel are all within an hour’s drive of each other.
There are plenty of fun ways to get a feel for Mount Cook National Park. Here are some of some of the top ones:
For many more things to do, peruse our Canterbury things to do page.
Outstanding location with amazing view, good amenities.