This year, I have been fortunate enough to spend some of my spare time in Mount Cook, exploring the many gems that this place possesses. It is a place that has fostered adventure in so many and with each visit, I have taken away with me amazing experiences, unforgettable memories and more images of this sublime landscape than I could have asked for. A bit of background to the area:
Aoraki (Maori name given by the Ngai Tahu tribe) is New Zealand's highest mountain standing at 3,724 metres (12,218 feet) and lies in the Southern Alps mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A place comprised of rugged ice and rock, it possesses 19 peaks over 3000metres, ultimately making it heaven for keen alpinists who set out ascending these summits.
One of the hardest things to do in Mount Cook is leave. Constantly looking at the reflection in your rear-view mirrors to catch the last glimpses of those bold peaks. Driving out of Mount Cook after my first visit left me with a real sense of bleakness as I wasn't sure when or if, I would get the opportunity to go back there again. I remember when I first turned onto state highway 80 toward Mount Cook and how many times I had to pull over to gaze in awe at the view ahead. I actually challenge you to drive the 55km of road to Mount Cook without stopping! That first visit had such an impact on me and a real respect for these mountains was formed which as time goes by will not go away. I am sure I am not the only person that feels this way and so I hope you can relate.
Although Aoraki is a place that adventures are literally never-ending, I have been fortunate enough to explore much of the area and so I have put together a few personal favourite spots that are astonishingly photogenic. (Let's face it though, it's hard to make Mount Cook look bad) These locations are in no particular order however, I find them to be all equally stunning in their own right.
I really hope you enjoy the imagery and I ultimately hope you can get yourselves to this sublime part of the world someday. I can assure you, it will be one of the best travel decisions you ever make.
Sitting 1800 metres high up on the Seally range, Mueller hut is one of the most incredible spots to spend the night in New Zealand; no question. Providing 360 degree views of the Aoraki landscape, Mueller hut sits across from Mount Sefton and during the winter months, you can have front row seats to several avalanches falling from Mount Sefton as the big blocks of ice crash down onto Mueller Glacier.
Tasman Glacier Lake
Staring straight ahead at the longest glacier in New Zealand, I couldn’t help but notice the size of the icebergs breaking off the glacier. A sad reality for us all is that all of New Zealand’s glaciers are now retreating, a phenomenon that has arisen from the change in climate, but with it, formations such as the ever-growing, sublime glacier lake beneath it, at least offer some consolation.
Hooker Valley Glacier Lake
A very popular day walk in the Mount Cook region. Crossing 3 swing bridges along the way, as you meander along the hooker river, it's no wonder this walk has gained such popularity. As you reach the glacier, you'll notice New Zealand's highest peak standing tall at the far end of the glacier lake.
Views from a scenic flight
It was a humbling experience to see this world heritage sight from the air. I took 2 scenic flights with Inflite/ Mount Cook ski planes and helicopters over the Tasman glacier as well as witnessing the West Coasts Fox glacier via Ski plane. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience and a must-do when you're in the area.
State Highway 80
If ever there was a drive that I could do over and over again, it would be this one. State highway 80 truly is one of the most beautiful roads in New Zealand, if not THE most. It is an impossible task to drive along this highway without stopping, with ever-looming peak of Aoraki/ Mount cook standing boldly ahead of you. It's certainly a view that gives you an abundance of excitement as well as a feeling of shock at the sheer scale of what lies ahead, all at the same time! There are plenty of places to stop along this road to stand in awe at this view, so leave yourself with plenty of time because you're going to want to make a few!
A big shoutout to the following companies for helping me reach Mount Cook and getting to explore it's many vistas.
Inflite New Zealand:
The Hermitage Hotel:
Big thank you for taking the time to read and take a look at my blog. Feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions/ queries.
All images are taken and post-processed by myself and are for sale. If you have any selections, let me know or drop me a message.