Hiking the Hooker Valley Track

I was super excited about this day.  It was our third day in New Zealand and our plan was to hike alongside Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand. The Hooker Valley Track is a 5 km one way hike and is mostly on a flat trail making it accessible to most people.

We started our day driving from Queenstown to Lake Pukaki.  After about a 2 hour drive, we stopped at this lookout which had a view of Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook in the background. What a view it was!  Blue/turquoise water and the bright sparkling snow of Mount Cook, it was the view to die for.

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Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook, New Zealand, hooker valley track
Lake Pukaki and Mt Cook
Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook, New Zealand, hooker valley track
Lake Pukaki & Mt Cook

 

After spending some time at this lookout, we headed towards Mount Cook. The drive was alongside Lake Pukaki for about half an hour.  As we got closer, views of Mount Cook got better and better. It was right in front of us as we got out of the car to start our hike.  I had never seen a mountain so close. It was breathtaking.

 

mt cook new zealand, hooker valley track
Driving Towards Mt Cook
Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook, New Zealand, hooker valley track
Getting closer

 

The Hooker valley track starts at White Horse Hill campsite, which has lots of parking and nice restrooms.  This is a good time to use the facilities before getting started because we did not see any more restrooms along the rest of the hike.

About 15-30 mins easy flat walk brought us to Mueller Lake lookout point.  This spot has an absolutely amazing view of Mount Sefton, whitish gray Mueller Lake and the first suspension/swinging bridge on the track. People who can’t or don’t want to hike the whole track can still walk to this point and get a taste of the scenery.

 

Mt Cook New Zealand Hooker valley hike, hooker valley track
Mueller Lake lookout point

Mt Cook New Zealand, Hooker valley track

 

From here, the walk is downhill to the suspension bridge where the track turns, making its way towards Hooker valley. When the path turned, we were greeted by astonishing views of Mount Cook.  At this point, we were so close to the mountains that we even saw a small avalanche form and eventually disappear on its way down.

 

hooker valley track

 

hooker valley track

 

After hiking for about an hour, crossing two more suspension bridges, a long boardwalk, and some uneven ground (but mostly flat), we got to ‘Hooker Lake’.

 

hooker valley track

Mt Cook New Zealand Hooker valley hike

 

The track ends at a lookout which has a sitting area, amazing views of Hooker Lake, Mount Cook, and Hooker Glacier.  There were a few icebergs floating on the water. Here, we spent some time appreciating the beauty of nature and finishing up some sandwiches that we had brought with us.

Also, we hiked down to the beach.  It took us about 5 mins to get down to the water.

 

Mt Cook New Zealand Hooker valley track
Enjoying the view

Mt Cook New Zealand, Hooker valley track

 

Tips to Hike Hooker Valley Track:

  • Dress in layers because the weather can change quickly. Also, carrying a raincoat/jacket is a good idea. I recommend a raincoat with full sleeve and hood for complete protection.
  • Make sure you put on a good amount of sunscreen because there is no shade along the way,  exposing you to sun throughout the whole hike. Reapply once or twice.
  • Total time to complete the track is about 3-4 hours. Therefore, carry some food/snacks and plenty of water with you as there is no place to eat or drink along the track.
  • Make sure you have good water proof hiking shoes as the track can get slippery and wet. I like my Columbia Redmond waterproof hiking shoes.

Checkout the items you need for the hike on Amazon:

 

Also read:

Day trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound (New Zealand),

Iceland in 7 days- Our complete Itinerary,

Self driving the Golden Circle in Iceland

 

 

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