At 3764 metres, Mt Cook in New Zealand is the highest of the country's 27 mountains over 3000 metres. It is higher by more than 1500 metres to Australias highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko at 2228 metres.
It is called Aoraki (or Aorangi, ao meaning land, rangi meaning sky or heavens) by the Maori.
- (See the Legend of Aoraki.)
Named after British explorer
New Zealand's highest peak was named Mt Cook (after the British explorer Captain James Cook) by Captain Stokes of the survey ship HMS Acheron.
Mt Cook, or Aoraki, sits at the heart of New Zealands Alpine country, within the 700 square kilometres of Mt Cook national park, and is almost equidistant from Christchurch and Queenstown.
Twenty-two of the countrys 27 mountains over 3000 metres are in the 70,000-hectare Mt Cook national park. Aoraki is the highest.
Mt Cook was first climbed in 1894 by New Zealanders Jack Clarke, Tom Fyfe and George Graham. It has been climbed by New Zealand explorer and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary who scaled Mt Everest in 1953.
The National Park Visitor Centre is in Mt Cook Village, close to The Hermitage, which is one of New Zealands more famous hotels, with its close-up view of the snow-clad peak.
Also in the village is the Mt Cook YHA Hostel which provides lower-cost accommodation.
Accommodation at Mt Cook should be booked in advance to be sure of a place to stay.
Mt Cook Village is a 45-minute drive from Twizel at the end of SH80. Twizel is one of the towns near the southern end of Lake Pukaki on the Christchurch-Queenstown route.
Next page: Mt Cook: Skiing the Tasman Glacier