The whole tramp is in alpine terrain - know what weather to expect and take the right gear.
Aoraki/Mount Cook Village to Sealy Tarns
Time: 2 hr
Start on the Kea Point Track either outside the Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park Visitor Centre or at White Horse Hill car park, at the end of the Hooker Valley Road. Follow the Kea Point Track to the Sealy Tarns turnoff.
The Sealy Tarns Track begins gently until you reach the foot of the Mueller Range. The track zigzags steeply up to Sealy Tarns.
A climb to this spot will reward the walker with spectacular views of the Hooker Valley and the peaks in the area, including Aoraki/Mt Cook on a good day. A tarn is the name given to a small mountain lake or pond.
Assess your fitness and ability at Sealy Tarns - the track gets harder from there on.
Sealy Tarns to Mueller Hut
Time: 2 hr
From Sealy Tarns follow the orange markers (every 200 metres) through the tussock. This is not a maintained track but an alpine route. Parts of the route are quite rocky. It zig-zags through alpine scrub, herb fields and tussocks to a large rock field.
From here the route ascends a loose gravel slope (scree) of about 50 metres, to the skyline ridge. At certain times of the year this becomes a steep snow slope. Once on the ridge relax and enjoy the magnificent view of the Mueller Glacier sweeping down the valley past smaller hanging glaciers and the stunning ice shelf on Mount Sefton.
The route from here turns south towards the hut. Follow the orange markers through the basin until you see Mueller Hut – about 20 minutes along the ridge.
Side trip: Mueller Hut to Mt Ollivier
Time: 30 min
This is a rock scramble along the obvious ridge from Mueller Hut to the top of the rocky outcrop immediately to the south of the hut. A big cairn marks the top. Don’t be tempted to go further along unless you have experience, as it can get dangerous. It is very steep and exposed beyond the top of Mount Ollivier. This was the first peak Sir Edmund Hillary climbed, beginning a climbing career culminating in the first ascent of Everest.
Mueller Hut to Aoraki/Mount Cook Village
Time: 3 hr
Descend back to the village the same way as you came up. Do not be tempted to go straight down or veer off the route at any stage. Make sure you turn off the ridge down the scree slope at the orange marker. In bad weather it can be quite difficult finding your way.