Getting to Mt Cook

Getting to Mt Cook

Silver Tip Lodge Heliskiing

Where is Mt Cook?

Mount Cook lies within the Southern Alps of New Zealand within the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. The nearby Mt Cook Village is 55km off the Christchurch-Queenstown highway, about 3 hours north of Queenstown and 3.5 hours south of Christchurch. The Aoraki Mt Cook Alpine Village is a 105km drive from the Lake Tekapo township (1:05 hours).

Driving to Mt Cook

The well signposted Mt Cook turn-off from SH8 is 49km southwest of Lake Tekapo township, and 8km north of the town of Twizel. Fill up with petrol in one of these towns, as fuel at Mt Cook is expensive and difficult to obtain.

The first part of the drive meanders alongside the picturesque and humungous Lake Pukaki. The highway is fully paved and only once in a blue moon does the road close after a snow storm. The 55km road goes past Glentanner Park and then Mt Cook airport before hitting the Mt Cook village.

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Mt Cook Private Transport Providers

There are lots of buses to Mt Cook from Queenstown, Christchurch and Wanaka. Some buses are tours that stop for a short while at Mt Cook, or it’s possible to just get a one-way fare. Examples of bus operators include Great Sights and Intercity Coachlines. The buses stop at the Mt Cook YHA, Aoraki Alpine Lodge and the Hermitage Hotel.

Getting Around Mt Cook

It’s a decent walk from the YHA at one end of the village to the Hermitage Hotel, but hey if you can do full day tramps around the Mt Cook area, then what’s a bit more of a hike?

If you’re staying at the Hermitage motel or chalet units (which are closer than the YHA) they provide courtesy shuttles between the accommodation and the main Hermitage Hotel.

A 4WD vehicle would be useful (but not essential) to get to the trailheads for some of the Mt Cook Village walking tracks (see the DOC website for more info) as the roads to the valleys are narrow and unpaved.

Ski Areas Near Mount Cook

Many years ago there was a ropetow on Ball Glacier for a bit of skiing, but this is long gone. Other than ski touring, heli skiing is the main skiing at Mt Cook with Mt Cook Heli Ski (formerly known as Wilderness Heliski, guided by Alpine Guides) based at the Hermitage. Alpine Guides also offer the famous “Ski the Tasman” tour which is relaxed pace heli skiing on the Tasman Glacier.

When the weather conditions result in a “no fly” day, if you’ve got a car you can head to Ohau ski field which is 99km away. The other option is to head to Roundhill which is 137km away.