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4 Things to Do in New Zealand's Mount Cook National Park

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Aerial view of Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand.

Embrace the captivating natural beauty of New Zealand when you take part in the best activities to truly experience the world-famous Mount Cook National Park and New Zealand’s largest glacier.

You can experience the shining ice and dramatic colors of the glaciers that cover more than 40 percent of Mount Cook National Park in the Southern Alps, including the enticing summit of Mount Cook itself, the country’s tallest mountain.

Besides its epic scenery, you can revel in exclusive experiences among the floating icebergs, jagged snowcapped peaks, and deep crevices that split the glacier’s icy surface to create the perfect adventure during your New Zealand tour.

Overview

  1. Scenic Hikes of Tasman Lake and Around the Glacier
  2. Kayaking Across the Tasman Lake
  3. Scenic Flights and Snow Landings
  4. Heli Hike on the Tasman Glacier
  5. Experience the Best Travel Activities in Mount Cook National Park

Scenic Hikes of Tasman Lake and Around the Glacier

Only experienced mountaineers can trek over the peaks and through elevated passes to hike the icy surface of Tasman Glacier without a guide or flight support. For a more casual view of the glacier without the extreme conditions on the slippery surface, you can stroll around Tasman Valley combining the Blue Lakes via the Hooker Valley Track. The trail takes you to fantastic viewpoints overlooking the milky-blue waters of Tasman Lake and the long flatlands of Tasman Valley. The hiking trail requires minimal effort but rewards you with a fabulous panorama, including the labyrinth of icebergs floating on and emerging from the surface of Tasman Lake.

Kayaking Across the Tasman Lake

Guided tours lead enthusiastic adventures onto the glowing waters of Lake Tasman in kayaks for a divine paddle around the landmarked destination. Experts or novice kayakers will enjoy floating along the frigid waters past staggering icebergs surrounded by the ascending peaks of the glaciated mountains. You will kayak close by the ice wall while remaining at a safe distance in the event of a falling iceberg. Should any ice break away from the glacier wall, you will have an incredible view. In February 2011, the Christchurch earthquake caused a chunk of ice weighing 30 million tons to tear away from the wall, causing waves more than 10 feet tall.

Scenic Flights and Snow Landings

The gorgeous landscapes of turquoise lakes, rolling coastal waves, scattered mountain peaks, and magnificent geothermal activity has made New Zealand a prime destination for scenic flights. While in the air, you have a spectacular panoramic view of the vast scenery punctuated by the peaks of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. The aerial view puts the scope of the glacier into perspective with surprising, sporadic views of the west coast, as well as spectacles of the upper snowfields, the Grand Plateau, Plateau Hut, and Hochstetter Icefall. The rides will land on the powdery snow summits, allowing you to stop for a second and take it all in.

Heli Hike on the Tasman Glacier

A heli hike excursion is the only way to get onto the ice itself by combining a scenic flight with the thrill of exploring the white ice running alongside New Zealand’s largest mountain. Strap on sturdy boots and crampons after landing in a remote area of the glacier known for meandering crevices, slippery slopes, and hidden ice caves. The walking tour lasts about two hours and travels over the constantly changing environment of the glacier making every visit unique. If you prefer a more audacious thrill when on the glacier, you can ski at the heart of the Southern Alps on a variety of runs with slopes descending nearly 3,300 feet.

Experience the Best Travel Activities in Mount Cook National Park

New Zealand’s largest glacier, the Tasman Glacier, isn’t just for show and instead offers exclusive experiences blending exhilarating exploration of Mount Cook National Park's impressive icy crevices, steep snowy slopes, and frosty rugged landscapes. Find inspiration in the winter wonderland with Zicasso’s New Zealand Tours and Vacations or learn more about how you can find the best travel experiences with our New Zealand Travel Guide. Ready to see the Tasman Glacier in person? Complete a Trip Request or call us on 1-888-265-9707 to talk with one of our dedicated travel specialists.

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