Nestled within the stunning landscapes of New Zealand's South Island, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park stands as a testament to its natural beauty. Home to the tallest peak in New Zealand, Aoraki/Mount Cook offers adventurers a playground of rugged terrain, glaciers, and mesmerizing alpine vistas. If you find yourself in either Queenstown or Christchurch this winter, a side trip to this iconic destination should be top of your list. It’s not as hard to get to as you might think.

From Queenstown:

Self-Drive: Renting a car in Queenstown gives you the freedom to set your own pace and explore the breathtaking scenery along the way. The drive to Aoraki/Mount Cook takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours, passing through quaint towns like Cromwell and Twizel. Be sure to stop at the stunning Lake Pukaki for jaw-dropping views of its turquoise waters against the backdrop of the Southern Alps.

Bus Tours: Several tour operators offer day trips from Queenstown to Aoraki/Mount Cook, providing a hassle-free way to experience the journey without worrying about driving. These tours often include informative commentary, scenic stops, and optional activities such as short walks or glacier boat tours. You can choose a day trip or many offer one-way tickets so you can spend a night or two at the iconic Hermitage and then jump on another bus in a couple of days. 

From Christchurch:

Self-Drive: Similar to Queenstown, renting a car in Christchurch allows you to explore in your own time. The drive to Aoraki/Mount Cook takes approximately 4.5 to 5 hours, and a stop for a pie in Fairlie Bakehouse is not to be missed. Stop at Lake Tekapo to stretch your legs before the last leg of your journey past jaw-dropping views of the turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki against the backdrop of the Southern Alps.

InterCity Bus: If you're traveling from Christchurch, hopping on an InterCity bus is a convenient and cost-effective option. The journey takes approximately 4.5 to 5 hours, traversing through the Canterbury Plains and offering glimpses of the snow-capped peaks in the distance. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the picturesque landscapes along the way.

Guided Tours: For a more immersive experience, consider booking a guided tour from Christchurch to Aoraki/Mount Cook. These tours often include knowledgeable guides who share insights into the region's history, geology, and wildlife. Additionally, some tours may incorporate stops at other points of interest, such as Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Regardless of which travel option you choose, a visit to Aoraki/Mount Cook promises to be a highlight of your New Zealand adventure. Once you arrive, immerse yourself in the splendour of the National Park by embarking on one of its many hiking trails, taking a scenic flight over the glaciers, or simply basking in the tranquillity of nature.

Before embarking on your journey, be sure to check the weather conditions and road closures, especially during the winter months when snow and ice can affect travel. Additionally, don't forget to pack essentials such as sturdy walking shoes, warm clothing, and plenty of water to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Whether you're seeking adventure, serenity, or simply a glimpse of New Zealand's natural wonders, a trip to Aoraki/Mount Cook is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, gather your sense of wanderlust and set off on an unforgettable expedition to this majestic alpine paradise.


It's time to book your winter escape to Aoraki/Mount Cook.