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Aoraki Mt Cook National Park – HIKE SCENIC HOOKER VALLEY TRACK AND KEA POINT

I love Mt Cook. Of all the places I’ve been to on this trip, this area is by far, the most beautiful place I have ever been to, and stayed in.

INTERCITY BUS TO MT COOK

So I left Wanaka early morning at about 9am, and took an Intercity bus to Mt Cook, stopping by a couple of places in between. The first stop I remember was Tarras, a small sheep farming settlement, known for producing merino wool. It was rather cloudy that day so it all looked a bit dark and gloomy. And sure enough it poured throughout the bus journey, till about 12pm when we reached Mt Cook! Super lucky I’d say. Was thankful to still be able to catch the Lake Pukaki along the way, one of the blue-est lake in NZ! The blue colour is a result of ‘glacial flour’, which is made up of extremely finely ground rock particles from the glaciers around it.

There were a few hikes I’d planned to attempt there, including the easiest and most rewarding Hooker Valley track, followed by the Kea point track, and the Mueller hut track which will include a nights’ stay at Mueller hut. I wished I’d planned for a longer stay in Mt Cook though! 1 night was certain not enough. Due to time constraints, I didn’t manage to do the Mueller hut track, which would require an additional 2 days.

HOOKER VALLEY TRACK – DURATION AND ROUTE

So immediately after check-in to YHA Mt Cook, I walked through the pouring rain and had my raincoat on, kind of worried about when it would become sunny again. Sure enough, at right about noon time, the rain stopped and the sun came out full force. The legendary Mt Cook was in sight! I’ve read that its usually shrouded in clouds, so I felt super lucky to be able to see it, on my first day here! So I started going for the Hooker Valley track, which takes about 4 hours return, starting from White Horse Hill Campground.

Check out the clear blue sky and Mt Cook right in front!Β No words. Massive photo set ahead!

I think throughout the walk there were about 3 or 4 hanging bridges to cross. I really love passing through them! The view at every angle is just so grand and spectacular.

For dinner that night, I heated up an instant soup packet as well as a rice pudding that I got from the Wanaka supermarket on the previous day. Thankfully I had these for spare because there aren’t any supermarkets around there. My YHA hostel has a small ‘mini mart’ counter so I got some bread from there as well. The kitchen was so busy that day and I saw some people cooking up fresh salmon from the nearby farm in Twizel! Must have tasted awesome.

KEA POINT – EASY HIKE IN AORAKI MT COOK

The next morning I woke up at about 8am and took a walk to Kea Point. It was quite a short walk, only took about an hour or so, and walked a little bit of Hooker Valley again as the weather was once again too good!

VISIT THE SIR EDMUND HILLARY ALPINE CENTRE IN AORAKI MT COOK

I love going to visitor centres just to find out more about each place I go to, and the The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre has a showcase on alpine climbing, and there was this reconstructed hut inside the gallery, which shows the living conditions of climbers who depended on huts for shelters back in the days. I thought that was really interesting to experience! I would love to spend an extended amount of time hiking out and living through the NZ hut system someday.

WHERE TO EAT IN AORAKI MT COOK VILLAGE – OLD MOUNTAINEERS’ CAFE

I had a burger for lunch at the Old Mountaineers’ Cafe, which is located right in the village. I really love the decor inside, so much rustic charm!

MT COOK TO LAKE TEKAPO BUS VIA COOK CONNECTION

I took the 4pm Cook Connection bus, and left for Tekapo on my second day in Cook! Really missed this place and I can’t wait to be back, especially for winter.

 

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