Hooker Valley Track
Image: Miles Holden © 

Introduction

Enjoy the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana on one of our best day hikes - wind up the Hooker Valley past alpine streams and glaciers in the shadow of Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Highlights

  • Views of Mueller Glacier, Hooker Lake and Aoraki/Mount Cook.
  • Mount Cook buttercup, the world’s biggest buttercup.

 


 

  • Fitness required: Low
  • Gradient: Flat

Track overview

10 km return via same track

Walking and tramping

3 hr return Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track

Description

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.

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. Try 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. From the second swing bridge, the vegetation changes to more open tussock and a wider valley floor. A third swing bridge leads to the East Hooker and 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 on the same track, enjoying more views down valley and across to the Sealy Range.

Getting there

The nearest towns are Aoraki Mt Cook village (2 km), Tekapo (96 km) and Twizel (56 km).

The track starts at the White Horse Hill Campground and car park at the end of Hooker Valley Road.

Nature and conservation

Many different wildflowers can be seen along the way, including celmisia and the Mount Cook buttercup/kōpukupuku, the world’s biggest buttercup.

Endangered kea, the only alpine parrot in the world and one of the most intelligent birds, can sometimes be heard along the track.

Know before you go

What to expect
  • Change in elevation: 124 m

Elevation profile of Hooker Valley Track.

Hazards
  • The Aoraki/Mount Cook region experiences very fast changes in weather. In this alpine environment it’s common to experience strong wind, high rainfall, heavy snowfall and rapid changes in temperature at any time of the year. 
  • The track is designed to avoid the risk of avalanche – keep to the tracks.
Amenities
  • Toilets at White Horse Hill Campground at the start, and at Stocking Stream halfway along the walk.
  • Picnic tables just past the second swing bridge and at the Hooker Lake lookout.
Be prepared

Ensure you take:

  • plenty of drinking water
  • a water/windproof jacket, a hat and gloves, sunscreen and wear warm, layered clothing
  • sturdy footwear such as running shoes or light boots
  • head torch
  • mobile phone (cellphone connection is possible for most of the track).

How to pack for a day walk

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

Learn more about preparing for a day walk in Day walks guide: English | Français | Español | Deutsch

 

In the area

For information on transport, accommodation, activities, and attractions in the Aoraki/Mt Cook Mackenzie region, refer to http://www.christchurchnz.com.

Contacts

Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 435 1186
Email:   mtcookvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   1 Larch Grove
Aoraki/Mt Cook
Full office details
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