Ideal duration: 3-5 Days
Best Time: September - November Read More
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The Mount Cook National Park, or the Aoraki National Park, is home to New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook and is populated by 23 other peaks measuring over 3000m. The national park is studded with stunning mountains on every side, grand glaciers surrounded by everpresent snowfields. The sheer beauty of the landscape on all sides, underneath New Zealand’s only designated International Dark Sky Area are reasons enough to see why the land inspired some of the Maori people’s most significant legends.
Aoraki, according to Maori legend, and his siblings were children of the Sky Father. While out at sea, the canoe that the siblings were travelling in overturned and while stranded on top of the canoe, Aoraki and his three siblings froze on the canoe. The canoe came to be New Zealand’s South Island while Aoraki’s siblings became the Southern Alps while Aoraki himself became what is known today as Mount Cook/Aoraki.
Remarkably, while Mount Cook National Park is one of the world’s great national parks, home to some of New Zealand’s highest peaks, it is also easily accessible to the public. The State highway 80 leads right up to Lake Pukaki which is commonly used as a base to begin exploring Mount Cook National Park. The Mount Cook National Park was also where Edmund Hillary, the first person (along with Tenzing Norgay) to climb Everest, used to train in preparation for Mount Everest. It is also widely regarded amongst the mountaineering community as the best mountain climbing region in the continent. The national park is also hugely appealing to less serious climbers. The walking trails around the national park will take you through some of the most spectacular scenery, filled with glaciers, alpine wildflowers and the delightfully inquisitive kea bird.
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