Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
As winter bites in the northern hemisphere, head to South Island’s majestic mountains as the park celebrates its 60 year anniversary …
Money: NZ dollar
Health: Excellent facilities. Beware changing weather and strong sun
Get orientated. Rising magnificently from deep within New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is located at the centre of the South Island’s humped glacial spine. Taking its name from 3,754m high Mount Cook (first ascended 120 years ago in 2014), the park contains 19 peaks over 3,000m, and covers a whopping 700 sq km. Around 40% is covered by glaciers, including New Zealand’s longest, the 27km-long, 3km-wide Tasman Glacier.
Getting there. The easiest way to get to the national park, which is located off State Highway 80, is to hire a car; it’s a four-hour drive west of Christchurch and a three-hour drive north of Queenstown.
Intercity Coachlines runs daily services from Christchurch and Queenstown to the park . Alternatively, catch a public bus to the towns of Twizel or Lake Tekapo; from there, Cook Connection runs shuttlebuses to and from Mt Cook (Oct-May).