Mount Cook and its surrounding national park is one of the most amazing locations in New Zealand without a doubt. To be able to get up so close and personal to NZ’s tallest peak is a real thrill. I will never forget the feeling of arriving at the end of the Hooker Valley track and seeing the mighty sight of Mount Cook rising right up before me, nor the fact that the very last light of day lingers so much longer on the very tip of the peak. But I think that even more of a thrill was the morning I caught the sunrise at Tasman Glacier Lake. Despite being mid Spring, it was a -3 degrees start to the day but the amazing morning light and icebergs reflecting in the glacier lake were certainly worth freezing toes and fingers.
If you come to these mountains, one thing to seriously consider is a scenic flight over the mountains and glaciers. It really does give you the most incredible vantage point to see how all the peaks and glaciers interact with each other on this stretch of the Southern Alps. At the very least you need to spend 1 or 2 nights here to fully appreciate the scale of the whole national park, and to do justice to taking in the views from the different walking tracks within the park. And no trip to Mount Cook would be complete without stopping to take in the view from Peter’s Lookout with the ridiculously aquamarine waters of Lake Pukaki in the foreground. The colour of the water defies belief with the alluvial glacial sediment washing into the lake to create such incredible colour.