hiking in mount cook national park


we had just one day in mount cook national park, among the southern alps. we decided to do a challenging seven hour hike up to mueller hut, a lodge overlooking glaciers and snow-capped peaks. the journey was pretty grueling (climbing up 2,000 stairs and then scrambling nearly up craggy side of the mountain, but the views were soooo rewarding! the weather was so perfectly blue and sunshiney, and right after we got back in our car a storm rolled in over mount cook! it was a really amazing and thrilling journey.

^^ at the trailhead, ready for a challenge! ^^
^^ about half way up the stairs. we couldn’t get over these views all the way up! ^^
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^^ a reflection view halfway up, and then looking down nearly at the top! ^^
^^ finally, the hut in the distance! ^^
^^ loved this “halo” cloud over the mountain. this place really did feel heavenly. ^^
^^ after we reached the hut, we sat and ate lunch on a tall rock overlooking the mountains on one side and the vast valley below on the other:
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^^ then, the descent. this was by far the friendliest part of the path. i wish i would have taken more pictures of our ascent without a real path, scrambling up the gnarly loose rocks! you can see the clouds started to gather on our descent:
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^^ a glimpse of the stairs. we climbed over 2,000 of those, and then we were about a third of the way up. ^^
^^ can you spot the boy on the stairs? ^^

after we finished the mueller hut hike, we decided to go check out tasman lake and tasman glacier before heading back to the little town for dinner. i loved seeing the chunks of ice floating in the lake!


we loved the hostel we stayed at in mount cook village. we stayed in bunk beds in dorm rooms almost every night in new zealand, and we met so many interesting and cool people.

we had to get up reeeeeally early the next day to get to the airport for our flight to hong kong. we drove through the dark night back to queenstown, starting about 3am. we stopped on the side of the road for a few minutes about an hour into our drive to check out the stars. as soon as we turned off the headlights, got out of the car and looked up, we both totally gasped. the sky was fuller than i’ve ever seen it in my life, glimmering and shining with such intensity. it was uncapturable but unforgettable!


  1. I am loving all the beautiful pictures. Such a wonderful adventure you are on.
    Thanks so much for sharing. Lisa in WA

  2. The area around Mt Cook is the biggest and best dark sky reserve in the world. We were staying in Twizel (just south of Mt Cook) in January, and we walked outside and couldn't believe the stars.

    I am so glad you decided to come to the South Island to see all the beauty that NZ has to offer.

  3. This is just astonishing! What spectacular pictures! Thanks for taking us along! Fabulous!!!

  4. I am planning to visit early May. Can I complete the hike and reach back on the same day without snow equipment


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