Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

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Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is located on the western side of the South Island of New Zealand. The national park boundaries encompass an area of 278.6 square miles (721.6 sq km).

The park follows the Southern Alps for about 37 miles (60 km) with the park occupying the southeastern side of the range. Every one of the New Zealand summits that reach heights over 9,842 feet (3,000 m) are found within the park except for Mount Aspiring.

The tallest mountain in New Zealand is Aoraki / Mount Cook with a summit topping out at 12, 218 feet (3,764 m). It is the pinnacle peak of the Southern Alps. Tasman Valley and Hooker Valley both provide stunning views of the mountains.

Approximately 40% of the park is accounted for by glaciers with being Tasman Glacier recognized as the largest. With a total of 72 named glaciers, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home to eight of the twelve largest glaciers in the country.

Hooker Glacier, Mueller Glacier, Murchison Glacier, and Tasman Glacier all have terminus points at lakes surrounding the renowned Aoraki / Mount Cook. The only forested area is found in the Hooker Valley with alpine species being the abundance of flora found in the park.

The national park features about 38 species of birds with the black stilt being the rarest wading bird in the world. The kea is another special bird species in the park because it is the only alpine parrot.

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Highlights

The pinnacle highlight of the park is Aoraki / Mount Cook which is the tallest mountain in New Zealand. It is not only the tallest, but it is also one of the most majestic creating one of the more picturesque scenes of a mountain.

Aoraki / Mount Cook is one of the most popular mountains to climb in New Zealand providing a variety of different paths to ascend. This, of course, is for the more conditioned and adventurous. Mountaineering is one of the more popular activities along with tramping or long-distance hiking.

Mount Cook

Mount Cook is also known as Aoraki.  The mountain features a summit at 12,218 feet (3,724 m) making it the tallest mountain in New Zealand. The range covers the length of the southern island in New Zealand, which attracts climbers from around the world.

Mount Cook has three different peaks.  The Low Peak is furthest south with a height of 11,788 feet (3,593 m), with the Middle Peak coming in at 12,195 feet (3,717 m), and the High Peak topping off at 12,218 feet (3,724 m).  There is a captivating view of Mount Cook looking across Hooker Lake which may feature a striking reflection across the water.

Tasman Glacier

Tasman Glacier measures a distance of 14.6 miles (23.5 km long) making it the longest glacier in New Zealand. It reaches widths of 2.5 miles (4 km) and has a depth of 2,000 feet (600 m).  The glacier is astounding with an area of 39 square miles (101 sq km). Aerial views of the glacier are captivating and provide opportunities for incredible photographs.

Tasman Glacier is also known as Haupapa.  It flows out of the Southern Alps on New Zealand's South Island.

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Aoraki/Mount Cook Trails

Hiking is one of the favorite activities of visitors exploring the national park.  Trails vary in length and range from easy to difficult providing an opportunity for everyone to engage in the splendor of Mount Cook.

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Park Protection

Aoraki-Mount Cook National Park was created to protect the terrain and wilderness surrounding the country's tallest mountain.  The park also protects the black stilt.  This species of wading birds is the rarest in the world.

The government new it was important to protect the wildlife and wildnerness so that future generations could enjoy Mount Cook in the pristine environment it calls home.

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Aoraki/Mount Cook Highlights

  • Aoraki / Mount Cook
  • Southern Alps
  • Tasman Glacier
  • Hooker Valley and Hooker Glacier

Map

Sources