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Image: Tourism New Zealand, photo by Fraser Clements

From hiking to flight-seeing, discover an extensive range of outdoor activities. By night the Southern Hemisphere sky is the ultimate night-time entertainment, and in the Mount Cook region the stars are especially bright.

This is an incredibly scenic place of blue glacial lakes and tussock-clad hills, lorded over by Aoraki Mount Cook – New Zealand’s tallest mountain. Get close to the mountain with a visit to Mount Cook Village, a hiking expedition in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park or a flight-seeing adventure. Further east, small towns offer a slice of rural life. Spend your days fishing, hiking and skiing (during winter), and your nights stargazing or soaking in a hot pool.


Download the Mount Cook & Mackenzie section from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013

Mount Cook & Mackenzie (from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013) (1216)

Highlights

Aoraki Mount Cook New Zealand’s highest mountain stands 3,754 metres tall. Its Maori name – Aoraki – means ‘Cloud Piercer’. Blue lakes Alpine lakes such as Tekapo and Pukaki are an astonishing shade of bright blue. The colour, caused by glacial deposits suspended in the water, makes for fantastic photos! Aoraki Mount Cook National Park A breathtaking alpine park where glaciers cover 40% of the area and there are 19 peaks over 3,000 metres high, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is popular with hikers and climbers. The Church of the Good Shepherd This quaint stone church at the edge of Lake Tekapo is picture-perfect whether you’re looking across the lake from SH 8 or gazing at the mountains through the altar window. Tasman Glacier The Tasman Glacier is approximately 27 kilometres long and 600 metres deep, terminating in a lake dotted with icebergs. Flight-seeing expeditions The remarkable landscape of the Mackenzie region is so expansive that a flight-seeing tour is a great way to appreciate its sheer scale. Cycling Bike the newly opened 300-kilometre Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.

Destinations

Mount Cook Village Historic alpine hamlet, base for exploring Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Lake Tekapo Pretty lakeside village known for its Church of the Good Shepherd. Fairlie Northern gateway to the Mackenzie, set amidst rolling green farmland. Twizel The Southern gateway to Mackenzie offers easy access to Mount Cook National Park.

Getting There and Around

Air Richard Pearse Airport in Timaru, less than 1 hour’s drive from Fairlie (gateway to Mackenzie), has daily flights to Wellington, but Christchurch has the nearest full-service airport. There are airstrips for chartered and scenic flights. Road Fairlie, northern gateway to the Mackenzie region, is 2 hours, 35 minutes from Christchurch. From Fairlie, Mount Cook Village is a further 2 hours. The area is serviced by coaches to other centres, as well as regional shuttles. If driving in the Mackenzie region during winter, be aware that there may be ice and snow on the roads. Christchurch to Fairlie [184 km; 2 hrs, 35 min] Fairlie to Lake Tekapo [42 km; 35 min] Lake Tekapo to Twizel [58 km; 50 min] Twizel to Mount Cook Village [63 km; 55 min] Twizel to Queenstown [200 km; 2 hrs, 50 min] Twizel to Oamaru [146 km; 2 hrs, 5 min]

Making the Sale

  • Within easy reach of Christchurch and located on the road to Wanaka and Queenstown, Mackenzie is an easy add-on in your itinerary planning.
  • Aoraki Mount Cook is a must-see. A flight-seeing tour is highly recommended to appreciate the scale of New Zealand’s tallest peak.
  • Mackenzie offers skiing and snowboarding during winter months – including skiing on Tasman Glacier.
  • The observatory at Mount John, Lake Tekapo, is an increasingly important visitor attraction.

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