On this small group day excursion to Mount Cook from Queesntown, experience beautiful South Island scenery on every turn as you travel to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. Home to New Zealand’s highest peak and impressive alpine landscapes.
Departing at 7 am from Queenstown, travel to Mount Cook in comfort and style with our premium Mercedes Sprinter van with a maximum of 15 other people. Your guide will host you throughout the day, providing entertaining commentary as you journey through the remarkable landscapes.
Enjoy the sights of the South Island, visiting Cromwell and the scenic Lindis Pass, before making a brief stop in Omarama, a charming village, where you can purchase refreshments and lunch if needed. From here we continue along the bright turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki, entering the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park around midday.
By selecting this option, we understand you plan to hike the Hooker Valley Trail.
During your time in Mount Cook, your Altitude Tours guide will drop you off at the start of the Hooker Valley Track. From here you will start a self-guided hike on the marked trail along the valley floor past alpine streams and glaciers, with an incredible view of Aoraki Mt Cook up ahead of you.
You can choose to shorten the hike, hiking to one of the three swing bridges and returning back to enjoy the village, or you can use the full amount of free time to complete the full trail (3 hours return, medium fitness).
You will meet your Altitude Tours guide back at the start of the trail at a set time, and start the return journey back to Queenstown, arriving at approximately 7:30pm.
Please note: this hike is exposed to harsh weather, and warm layers, hiking shoes, and a rain jacket are strongly recommended in all seasons.
Our Mercedes vans are fully equipped with complimentary wifi and panoramic windows for superior viewing so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.
The full-day trip takes approximately 12 hours from Queenstown. This allows us to make plenty of stops en route to ensure you enjoy the journey, with 3.5 hours in Mount Cook Village, you will have up to 3 hours to complete the track in that time.
The Hooker Valley Track is an self-guided walk, however our guide will transport you to the start of the trail and pick you up from the same point later that day.
For all passengers on tour, we also include access to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.
This is a DOC (Department of Conservation) hiking trail, and we recommend those with medium fitness complete the entire trail. We have a strict departure time from Mt Cook Village and all hikers must return by that time.
The track leads through the sacred Tōpuni area of the Hooker Valley, which has special significance and values to Ngāi Tahu iwi, towards Aoraki/Mount Cook. The track leads out to the Hooker Lake.
Distance from White Horse Hill carpark to lookout: 1 km (about 15 minutes walking time one way.)
The first 700 m of the track passes close to the Alpine Memorial (a great viewpoint) and Freda’s Rock before coming to the viewing point of the Mueller Lake lookout and the first swing bridge.
The track surface to the first lookout is a firm clay/gravel surface with easy grades. It is suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.
Beyond the first lookout there are several sections of steps which make wheelchair/buggy access difficult.
Distance from White Horse Hill carpark to second swing bridge: 2.5 km (about 45 minutes walking time one way.)
From the first of three swing bridges along the way, enjoy the views over the Mueller Lake and listen for the rumbling of avalanches from the distant Mount Sefton. You may be able to spot them before they crash into the Mueller Glacier below.
After crossing the Hooker River, the track goes between old moraine ridges and humps to the second swing bridge.
During red weather warnings or when intense rainfall or high winds are forecast, the Hooker Valley Track will close at the gate at the first swing bridge.
Distance from second swing bridge to Hooker Lake: 2.5 km (about 45 minutes walking time one way.)
The second swing bridge may be closed during winds exceeding 80 k/hr and during significant flood events. The bridge was severely damaged during a storm in 2019. There is erosion on both sides which affects its structural integrity during high winds. Engineers have determined the bridge is completely safe when not affected by strong winds and flood events.
From here the vegetation changes to more open tussock and a wider valley floor. There are public toilets located 15 minutes walk further on from the second swing bridge.
A third and final swing bridge then leads to the Hooker Lake, the source of the Hooker River.
The track ends with an amazing view over the iceberg-speckled Hooker Lake and up to majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana.
Return the same way, enjoying more views down the valley and across to the Sealy Range.
Distance from Hooker Lake back to White Horse Hill carpark: 5 km (about 90 minutes walking time one way.)
We recommend purchasing food in Omarama (a stop we make on the way) or bringing lunch from Queenstown at the start of the day. We arrive at 12pm, so you will likely be ready for lunch not long after arriving.
If you are only going to walk a short portion of the trail, you can choose to use the remainder of your free time in the village and buy food at a local cafe.
If you intend to do the full hike or spend more than 1 hour on the trail, we recommend purchasing food in Omarama or bringing this from Queenstown at the start of the day.
We don’t want to give too much away! The drive from Queenstown to Mt Cook is stunning and there are plenty of scenic stops enroute, your guide knows the best spots and will choose these on the day.
Yes! You will get up close to the icebergs on the Tasman Glacial Lake, with even the chance to touch them.
We pick up from select Queenstown hotels and the main bus stop routes in Queenstown town centre and along Frankton Road. When booking, type in your accommodation and it will suggest the closest bus stop. If it doesn’t come up just check in with us and we’ll let you know where is closest for you!
As this is a weather dependent tour, if there is risk of adverse weather conditions that will impact the operation of the tour, you will be contacted the day prior to your trip to explore alternative options.
The Hooker Valley Track is exposed, so if you are intending to hike this trail in any weather, you must be prepared and dress accordingly (leave your trendy clothes at home, trust us!).
Due to this being one of our most popular tours and wanting to be fair to all who join us we do not offer reserved seating. If you have a request we will do our best to accommodate but we cannot guarantee.
No, not at all! This option is the same cost as our standard day tour.
We just created this product to help us understand what you want to do in Mt Cook Village so that you come the best prepared as possible.