Soaring 12,315 feet (3,750 meters) over the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island, Mt. Cook (Aoraki) is Australasia’s highest mountain and the grand centerpiece of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. From hiking to aerial sightseeing, here’s how to discover the natural wonder from Christchurch.
A Mt. Cook day tour from Christchurch means a lot of traveling, but the long journey is worth it for the magnificent scenery en route. Along the way, you’ll admire views of the Canterbury Plains, Lake Tekapo, and Lake Pukaki; enjoy a thrilling hike around the Tasman Glacier; and stop in Fairlie for afternoon tea. Optional extras often include a scenic flight by ski plane over Mt. Cook National Park or lunch at the historic Hermitage Hotel in Mt. Cook Village. You can also explore on a one-way trip, starting your tour in Christchurch and ending in Queenstown.
With time to spare, a multi-day tour means you can venture farther afield and experience more of the South Island at a leisurely pace. A 3-, 4-, or 5-day tour from Christchurch takes in top attractions such as Milford Sound, Mackenzie Country, Arthur’s Pass, and the Franz Josef Glacier. With a week or two to spend on the South Island, you can cover all the highlights on an epic round-island trip.
Things to Know
Mt. Cook is located 205 miles (330 kilometers) southwest of Christchurch, about four hours by road.
Full-day tours from Christchurch can last up to 13 hours, so prepare for a long excursion.
Be sure to take your camera, comfortable walking shoes, and water and snacks for the journey.
Multi-day tours typically include hotel pickup and drop-off, accommodation, some meals, and round-trip transportation.