The Spectacular Hooker Valley in New Zealand

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The Spectacular Hooker Valley in New Zealand

New Zealand is filled with amazing walks, ranging from short strolls to multi day hikes. One of the most popular and easily accessible hikes is the Hooker Valley Track in Mount Cook/Aoraki National Park. This interesting trail makes its way up the Hooker Valley through a spectacular landscape of glacier carved valleys with tall ice capped mountain peaks all around, to the end of the Hooker Glacier where New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook, towers above.

We arrived at Mount Cook in the afternoon after driving from Christchurch and camped at the White Horse Hill Campground. Rain clouds gathered around the mountains but we decided to head out on the trail that afternoon just in case the weather was worse the next morning. The trail climbs up out of the campground to a stunning viewpoint which overlooks the valley, with the Mueller Glacial Lake sitting beneath stunning mountains capped with ice and snow.

Mueller Glacial Lake View

From the viewpoint the trail heads down to cross the rushing white water of the Hooker River via a wooden suspension bridge. The rain threatened us the whole time and the wind came in short, intense gusts, but the scenery was spectacular and we chose to continue on.

Hooker River and Mueller Lake

The trail follows along the rocky moraine above the glacial lake of the receding Mueller Glacier. Stunning mountains surrounded us all around, the dark rain clouds hiding their tops but only adding to the dramatic scene. We crossed another, longer suspension bridge over the river again and made our way to another viewpoint, this time looking up the Hooker Valley to Mount Cook itself.

Mueller Lake

Hooker Valley Bridge

The mountain was just hiding its head in the clouds, but the scene was still breathtaking. The wind was strong now and the chilly gusts brought with it spurts of stinging rain. The day light was also fading, so at this point we decided to turn back. If you have better weather and more time, you could continue along the trail from here to the glacial lake beneath the Hooker Glacier, and if you’re lucky, you will see Mount Cook it all of its glory, towering over the landscape.

Hooker Valley and Mount Cook View

The wind and rain continued in quick bursts as we made our way back, trying not to get blown off the bridge as we crossed it. I was also worried about the fading daylight, however the dark clouds were making it feel later than it was. We managed to make it back to camp with plenty of light to spare, and we were mostly dry, having avoided the worst of the rain which came later in the night.

After we got back to camp, we had just enough time to make dinner and enjoy a beautiful colourful sunset looking south where the weather was nicer.

Sunset in Mount Cook/Aoraki National Park

The environment here is harsh and unforgiving, however it is a stunning place, and the Hooker Valley Track is a must when visiting the South Island of New Zealand. Just cross your fingers for better weather 😉

By | 2017-02-12T03:15:06+00:00 February 12th, 2017|Destinations, Featured, New Zealand, Oceania, Travel|0 Comments

About the Author:

Adventurer, traveler, writer, photographer, introvert and coffee connoisseur, Dean is a co-founder of Margarita Sunset. His dream life would involve travelling the world while reading books and taking photos, and also patting every dog he comes across.

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