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Mt Cook, New Zealand

Aoraki

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Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest peak

Mt Cook on the South Island is New Zealand's highest peak

Copyright Tourism New Zealand

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 Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko at 2228 metres.

It is called Aoraki (or Aorangi, ao meaning land, rangi meaning sky or heavens) by the Maori.

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 Zealand’s Alpine country, within the 700 square kilometres of Mt Cook national park, and is almost equidistant from Christchurch and Queenstown.

High country

Twenty-two of the country’s 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 village

The National Park Visitor Centre is in Mt Cook Village, close to The Hermitage, which is one of New Zealand’s 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

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