Standing at a modest elevation of 3,724 metres, the ever-intimidating sight of New Zealand’s highest mountain range — Mount Cook, or otherwise known as Aoraki in Maori — is a travel destination well worth the short drive from Christchurch.
The awe-inspiring natural wonder and its accompanying national park may be reached via a short drive (three to four hours to be exact) from the aforementioned popular city of Christchurch.
Aoraki / Mount Cook
Walk, hike, or even hop on a helicopter ride. Regardless of your preference, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll be able to admire the dozens of magnificent scenery as you explore the natural splendours of Mount Cook. For instance, Mount Cook National Park is where you’ll find some of the best hiking trails in the Kiwi nation, as well as breathtaking scenery to boot.
But before you get to attempt to conquer Aoraki, please make sure to first head to the always dazzling, idyllic Lake Tekapo. This particular lake features a massive body of water drizzled with its distinct milky turquoise hue due to the fine rock-flour lining the shores and the insides of the lake.
And on its shores, you’ll also find the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd wherein the altar window perfectly frames the stunning view of the Southern Alps. Plus, Tekapo Springs is also considered one of the most peaceful and relaxing ways to admire the sights Mount Cook has to offer.
If you’re into the culture and historical significance of the beautiful locale, the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is where you want to be. It is here that you’ll find a museum, 3D movie exhibitions, and even a planetarium to scratch your intellectual itch.
Last but not least, if you’re more interested in the conservation cause, there are a multitude of conservation centres in the base area of Mount Cook that will shed light on how NZ is (successfully) preserving its natural history.