New Zealand’s most popular day walk: Hooker Valley Track

What if I told you could drive by turquoise blue lakes, into the belly of mountains & valleys and oh yea get to see icebergs, glaciers & epic mountain views in one afternoon?

Yes, you can! At NZ’s most popular day hike, Hooker Valley Track in Mt. Cook (Aoraki) National Park.

Sir Edmund Hillary, who along with Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay was the first to summit Mt. Everest, practiced mountain climbing at Mt. Cook, at this very national park. You know, just for fun. Well if it’s good enough for Eddie, it’s good enough for me! 😛

This turned out to be one of the most beautiful day walks in the world. How can you argue with this view?! Check out the video compilation below.

If you’re looking for a walk that has sweeping views of the mountains, glaciers, swing bridges with glacial rivers and one that can be completed by folks of all fitness levels, with ease – this is your bet. It’s a kid friendly jaunt as well!

The trail is well maintained, with boardwalks and swing bridges leading the way. On a clear day, you can see the glaciers on multiple mountains. It’s a 3 hour round trip, 1.5 hr each way, I would budget 4 hours in case you want to linger longer for pictures or a picnic.

Here’s us at the trailhead. There’s a shelter nearby with stoves, benches, restrooms & water where you can prep food & grab water.

20 minutes into the trail, you can see Mt. Mueller & the glacial river at its base with the first swing bridge of 3.

Look at how cool this swing bridge looks!

The trail is fairly flat, and you’re surrounded by mountains the entire time, which is quite a treat; usually walking in the mountains you’d expect steep inclines.

Here’s swing bridge #2, and I coulda sworn there were more than 20 people on it at one time!

Once you’re past this, you’ll approach these boardwalks, which of course make great selfie spots! Get a load of this view, wouldya?

Look Ma, no hands!

I had a very hard time choosing which photos to share with you, and this is one my favorites from the walk.

At the very end of the trail, you are rewarded with the view of Hooker Valley lake, by the base of Mt. Cook. The three floating icebergs are quite the sight – you can see them glowing blue, like they captured a light that’s trapped & frozen in them forever. It did get fairly chilly once we got closer to the lake, I recommend taking a light jacket. Unless you know, you’re a cold-blooded Ninja – in which case, much respect to you, Madame/Monsieur Ninja!  

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I will say, that after walking through such beautiful scenery, Hooker Valley Lake itself didn’t feel breath taking, although it was very cool to walk to the base of the lake. This was a case of the journey being more worthwhile than the destination itself.

On the way back, you get to walk past those gorgeous sights again!

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Mojo Verdict: It’s easy to see why Hooker Valley is considered New Zealand’s most popular & premier day walk. Easy accessibility, a well paved trail & its suitability for all fitness levels make it a memorable & must-do day walk to find Mojo!

Planning Your Trip

What To Take 
Sunscreen, Hat, Sunglasses, Insect repellant, Water, Lunch/snacks (if you want to eat at the end of the trail), Camera! As with any hike, you’ll want to check the weather, we were fortunate to get a beautiful, sunny day at 23 degrees Celsius. But even with such a sunny day, it got chilly by the glacier & icebergs and scorching hot on the trail, so best to be prepared with layers!

Best Time of year
Summer (November – February)

Other hikes to do in Mt. Cook National Park
Sealy Tarns Track, Tasman Glacier View Track, Governors Bush Walk, Kea Point Track.
Additional Resources: NZ Department of Conservation | Mt. Cook National Park

Other Activities
Glacial Kayaking, Horse Trekking, Stargazing, Boat Tours for Glacier exploration, Biking, Helicopter Tours

Where to Stay 

Accomodation also available (& cheaper) in nearby towns: Twizel, Tekapo, 30-40 mins away.

Good for
Walking, Beginner – Advanced Hikers, Mountaineers, Kid friendly, Glacier exploration, Epic Mountain views, Nature & Scenery.

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19 comments

Ophelia Keith March 18, 2017 at 11:10 AM

Your photos are really gorgeous, I am stuck in the middle of winter up here.

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Justine March 18, 2017 at 2:00 PM

THIS IS STUNNING! I definitely want to take this trail if I ever go to New Zealand

Justine
http://www.Theiridescentwings.com

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Anita March 18, 2017 at 9:07 PM

NZ is on my list and I cannot wait to go…in the future whenever that may be. Wow, those photos are absolutely breathtaking and I love any adventures that can be taken within a day. I am still in awe of those photos, mother nature at its best. I am not a hiker so thank you for prepping us at is needed and I can’t wait to cross those bridges.

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Farwa March 19, 2017 at 8:57 AM

Wow, these pictures are amazing! Remind me of the time I went on a tour to the northern areas in Pakistan. The scenery, lakes, mountain tops covered with ice…nature is amazing.

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Style With Robin March 19, 2017 at 11:11 AM

These pictures are GLORIOUS!!!!! New Zealand has been on my bucket list for about five years now… still trying to carve out the time to get there, and spend enough time to feel like I really absorbed the experience as well. What a teaser!

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Samantha March 19, 2017 at 7:52 PM

You had me at mountains !!!!! What a gorgeous place !

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Amber March 20, 2017 at 5:29 AM

Oh wow, how lovely! I hope to do these one day. Everything just looks so gorgeous.

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Ellie Chan March 20, 2017 at 6:43 AM

oh wow! These photos are absolutely stunning!! New Zealand has been on my bucket list for ages now.

Ellie

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toastycritic March 20, 2017 at 7:24 AM

The photos of that place were absolutely incredible. I have heard that there are so many different beautiful places out in New Zealand. It is on my bucket list of places to go. I do hope to be able to go sometime.

David || singledadsguidetolife.wordpress.com

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Shane Prather March 20, 2017 at 8:58 AM

New Zealand is such a gorgeous country! I only visited for a week so didn’t make it to Mt Cook but convinced I need to take a trip back for this trek!

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Olubukonla March 20, 2017 at 2:12 PM

This is absolutely gorgeous. I won’t want to be driving but sitting at the passenger seat in order to daydream. This is absolutely stunning…

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chelf March 20, 2017 at 3:05 PM

This is amazing! The bridge didnt look too scary until I saw the maximum 20 people sign lol What an adventure though, I’m so jealous! I need to travel asap!

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Anosa March 20, 2017 at 7:30 PM

New Zealand is one of my bucket list. Your pictures makes me wanna be there as soon as possible. Well, I am looking forward to have that kind of adventure too! Surely you had an awesome experience.

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Healthwealthbridge by Dr.Amrita Basu March 20, 2017 at 8:47 PM

Hooker Valley Track in Mt. Cook (Aoraki) National Park is going into my must do list..My daughter is 5 so we have to forget hikes .The scenary looks stunning

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Kay McCullen March 20, 2017 at 9:07 PM

Holy Cow I have so many things on my wishlist and now i have NZ lol

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Milica March 20, 2017 at 10:05 PM

Such a beautiful photos and post! I wish I can go there over summer season!

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Crissy March 20, 2017 at 10:07 PM

This trail is beautiful! Your photography is breathtaking! I have been wanting to go to New Zealand for so long and hopefully I will be able to visit it soon. If ever go, I will have to come back to this blog post cause I would love to go on this walk! So thanks for sharing your tips!

~Crissy
http://www.whimsicalfawn.com

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nisha March 20, 2017 at 11:55 PM

new zealands walk hooker valley track looks like a must visit place. photos are really stunning.

http://www.learn2livefully.com

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Ana Ojha March 21, 2017 at 3:00 PM

My brother stays in New Zealand and he went to Hooker Valley couple of times. I could totally relate to your post whatever he has told me about this wonderful trek. Can’t wait to visit there soon!

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