HIKING MUELLER HUT TRACK, AORAKI/MOUNT COOK
New Zealand has an abundance of beautiful, picturesque hikes that deliver on feelings of accomplishment and awe to the keen hiker. We know we're biased, but in our opinion the Mueller Hut track is without a doubt one of the best hikes on the South Island.
At 1800 metres high up on the Sealy Range, Mueller Hut track provides explorers with phenomenal 360 degree views encompassing New Zealand's highest peaks, glaciers, ice cliffs and much more. Those looking for a Mueller Hut adventure must first take on the 2200 stairs up to Sealy Tarns before continuing on for another 2 hours (approximately) to the famous red hut. If you're looking for a break this is the perfect spot with a picnic table perfectly positioned for the best views. If you feel like you need to cool down, give yourself a quick splash in the tarns that are just behind you.
The hike from Sealy up to Mueller Hut is quite an adventure, which includes a bit of a scramble up and over large rocks. At times the rocky environment makes you feel like you're on a completely different planet! Rock boulders transition into gravel before the skyline ridge, so make sure your shoes have decent grip to keep you upright and to avoid any unnecessary tumbles. Enjoy the sweet views on the ridgeline, you may even hear the sounds of Mount Sefton's rumbling before you set off for the final stretch to Mueller Hut.
Once you get there, enjoy access to public toilets and a comfortable deck to enjoy your packed lunch whilst soaking up those spectacular views. The DOC hut is available for you to book for a night's stay (subject to availability), however it does get busy and you need to prebook.
Alternatively the Mueller Hut track is a fantastic day hike, giving you plenty of time to get back down to the village in time for a cold beer at the Snowline Bar located in the Hermitage. Please check in at the local DOC centre in the village for 'on the day' weather forecasts, to familiarise yourself with any alerts and to lodge your hiking intentions.
Our top tips:
- Keep checking in for the orange markers which are positioned every 200 metres along the track. These will keep you from wandering off route.
- Plan ahead. This is alpine terrain and weather conditions can change fast and sporadically, make sure you have all the gear you need.
- Wear decent hiking boots/shoes, if they’re new – break them in before doing the track! This isn’t a track for shoes without decent grip and ankle support.
- Bring lots of water. There is water at the hut, although DOC recommends you boil before drinking.
- Slop that suncream on, the sun is your biggest risk here, even on a cloudy day.
There's no doubt you'll be ready for a rest if you complete the hike in a day. We recommend an overnight stay at the Hermitage Hotel to relax and admire the National Park from the comforts of your room!