Mt Cook, Aoraki, South Island, New Zealand

Mt Cook Aoraki New Zealand

Mt Cook Aoraki New Zealand

Mt Cook known to Māori as Aoraki or Cloud Piercer Located in the heart of the Mackenzie region, Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park is part of UNESCO’s Te Wāhipounamu (The Place of Greenstone) World Heritage. Australasia’s highest mountain Aoraki / Mount Cook (3,724m) nestled in the splendid Southern Alps.

Several years ago I did a seven-day bus tour around the South Island. One of the stops on this tour was Mt Cook driving from Christchurch to Queenstown.  It was a long day as its 4 hours to Mt Cook and 3 hours to Queenstown. It is advisable to stay over night to break the journey.

There is a variety of accommodation – hostels, holiday parks, lodges and motels.


  • Tasman Glacier, take a tour on a Argo 8 wheel all terrain vehicle or cruise on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake
  • Visit Sir Edmond Hillary Alpine Centre, he was the first climber to reach the summit of Mt Everest
  • Take a break/photo stop at Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki
  • Scenic Flights – By helicopter or fixed wing plane
  • Stargazing – You can explore the southern sky every clear evening from the Hillary Deck with expert astronomy guides. with Big Sky Stargazing
  • Walking & Hiking – Long or short walks from Aoraki / Mount Cook Village

Mt Cook Aoraki New Zealand

Mt Cook (Aoraki) New Zealand

Mt Cook (Aoraki) New Zealand

Mt Cook (Aoraki) New Zealand

Māori Myth

The Ngāi Tahu (local Māori people) legend of Aoraki / Mount Cook is the story of Aoraki and his 3 brothers. They were the sons of Rakinui (the Sky Father) and they were on a voyage around Papa-tū-ā-nuku (the Earth Mother) when disaster struck and they became stranded upon a reef.

The voyagers climbed on to the top side of the canoe and after a time the south wind froze them and turned them into stone. Their canoe became the South Island (Te Waka o Aoraki is the oldest name for the South Isand) and Aoraki who stood tallest of the brothers is now seen as the majestic Aoraki / Mount Cook with the Southern Alps as his brothers and other members of his crew.


Tagged on:

12 thoughts on “Mt Cook, Aoraki, South Island, New Zealand

  1. Denise

    This is a part of the country I’m very fond of. I was born in Fairlie (South Canterbury), and spent the first 3 years of my life in Tekapo, which is very close to Mount Cook.

    One of my great-grandfathers was a gold miner, and arrived in Arrowtown (near Queenstown) in the early 1860s. He met and married my great-grandmother in Queenstown.

    So you could say I owe my existence to that part of the world! Unfortunately, my great-grandparents didn’t buy up large tracts of land in Queenstown, where real estate is now very pricey.

    1. Deborah Baker Post author

      The English name of Mount Cook was given to the mountain in 1851 by Captain John Lort Stokes to honour Captain James Cook who surveyed and circumnavigated the islands of New Zealand in 1770. Captain Cook did not sight the mountain during his exploration.

Please leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: