Day Walk | Hooker Valley Path
- This page: description of the Hooker Valley Walk, South Island, New Zealand.
- Status: Up to date
- First Published: 19 December 2018
10 Nov 2015: Aoraki - Mt Cook:This is a Flickr album & can be viewed here or full size on Flickr using the nav arrows.
The Southern Alps
This page outlines a walk in the southern Alps area of South Island, New Zealand - very close to Aoraki [Mt Cook]. The path is a relatively easy walk from the last car park, near the original Hermitage, over three swing bridges to Hooker Lake which sits below Mount Cook itself.
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 of the path 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, passing Mueller Lake and 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 and even one toilets are provided along the way.
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 less pleasant. The temperature difference with respect to the east side of the Alps generated strong 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 searching 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|
|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|
We returned via the same route - ie the total distance etc is double all the above figures.
Getting there & back
We were staying in Twizel, and drove to Mount Cook Village from there. After visiting the Information Centre the drive to the car park is close by to the north of the village (all on sealed roads). We returned to Twizel - following the blue green waters of the wide hydro canal.
Points of Interest
Aoraki Village:The Information Centre in the village is well worth a visit - not only to check the weather conditions but there is also a small museum
References & Links:
|20181219||Dept Conservation Mt Cook Walks page|
Last Updated:24 Dec 2018