Mount Cook area walk
This page outlines a walk in Mount Cook area of South Island. New Zealand. It goes from the last car park, near the original Hermitage, over three swing bridges to Hooker Lake which sits below Mount Cook itself.
10 Nov 2013 above the first bridge: Looking back down the valley to Lake Pukaki
Description of the walk
There are several day walks based on Aorkai (Mt Cook) Village as well as many more overnight and high mountain treks. The danger of the mountains is brought home in visiting the climbers memorial (just off this path) - with names of many young people who have gone out onto the mountains and never came back.
The start is at the last car park on the sealed road near the old Hermitage buildings (now long gone - destroyed on a major flood) - it then follows the Hooker Valley to the Hooker Lake, crossing the Hooker River three times by long narrow suspension bridges. It is a super walk - full of magnificent scenery: mountains, glacial lakes, moraines, snow, glaciers, wild flowers ...
On the day of the walk the plains and Lake Pukaki were warm and sunny, but the conditions on the West Coast and mountain tops lees pleasant. The temperature difference generated string to gale force winds which shook and swayed the suspension bridges. It was not possible to wear loose clothing like hats - we also came across a couple groping on the shrubbery next to the middle bridge looking for a pair of sunglasses that had been ripped off the woman's face by the winds.
On crossing the final moraine - Hooker Lake comes into view, the glacier and above it the bulk of Aoraki. The lake was littered with ice - broken off from the end of the glacier - which now ends further up the valley some way beyond the snout position shown on most maps,
|Walk start||White Horse car park|
|Passage point||Alpine Memorial||- for climbers lost on Aoraki/Mt Cook|
|Passage point||Hooker River Bridge|
|Passage point||Mueller Lake|
|Passage point||2nd Swing Bridge|
|Passage point||Upper Hooker Bridge|
|Walk end||Hooker Lake|
|Distance||5.7||km [each way]|
|Total ascent||[m amsl]|
|Total descent||[m amsl]|
|Lowest point||749||Car Park [m amsl]|
|Highest point||886||Hooker Lake (bench-viewpoint) [m amsl]|
|Date walked||Who||Walking time||Direction|
|10 November 2013||HMM; KJM||1.35 hours [one way]||south-north (& return)|
Points of Interest
Getting there & back
For this stage we drove from Twizel, where we were staying. After visiting the Mt Cook Village and information the car park is a short drive north of the village (all on sealed roads).
We returned to Twizel - following the blue green waters of the hydro canal.
Start: 10 November 2013
End: 10 November 2013
References & Links:
|20140511||Dept Conservation Mt Cook Walks page|
Updated KJM 04 June 2014