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12 Epic Mount Cook View Locations – Best Places to See Mount Cook

12 Epic Mount Cook View Locations – Best Places to See Mount Cook

Looking to find out where to see Mount Cook? Aoraki/Mount Cook is New Zealand’s tallest mountain and her distant peak always dominates those incredible South Island backdrops. However, there are a few select spots that are the best places to see Mount Cook and to capture epic Mount Cook view photos.

Aoraki/Mount Cook was recognised for its splendour and beauty by both traditional Maori settlers and European explorers. Due to Mount cook being significant to both parties, the official name has been combined to reflect the unified history that is shared by all New Zealanders.

Even today, people flock from all over the world to catch a glimpse of this impressive 3,724 metre peak. And nobody is asking “why”? This mountain is absolutely incredible and one of my personal favourites to photograph in New Zealand.

After exploring the South Island’s best hikes and viewpoints, I’ve formulated this list to share some of the best places to see Mount Cook in all her glory.

Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

First: Experience Mount Cook on These Epic Day Trips

In a rush and prefer to have your trip to Mount Cook organized in advance? Check out these three unmissable Mount Cook experiences!

Hooker valley suspension bridge

1. Mount Cook Small Group Tour

The best way to experience the best of Mount Cook National Park on an epic day trip from Queenstown and includes the Hooker Valley Track.

Helicopter flight over mount cook national park

2. Mount Cook Ski Plane & Helicopter

A surprisingly affordable experience including a thrilling aerial tour by both ski plane and a helicopter!

Franz josef glacier south island 1

3. Tasman Glacier Heli Hike Top-Pick

See the Tasman Glacier from above and land on the Franz Josef or Tasman Glacier for an epic Glacier Hike (all gear provided)

Where Can You See Mount Cook From? - The Best Places to See Mount Cook

Let's get straight into this list of the best places to see Mount Cook!

Remember that Mount Cook's faces are visible from the interior and from the West Coast. To help you find the locations, I've included links to each independent article below for a complete guide on each hike and Mount Cook view location.

1. Hooker Valley Track

Known as one of the most popular hikes in New Zealand, the views from the Hooker Valley track simply has to be seen to be believed.

Following the Hooker Valley, this hike leads to the very edge of the Hooker glacial lake, where Aoraki/Mount Cook stands tall.

The best part is, you'll have epic Mount Cook views along the entire length of this hike!

Hiking the hooker valley track, views of mount cook

2. Mount Cook Helicopter Flight & Snow Landing

You can't really beat a helicopter flight and snow landing when it comes to epic views of the New Zealand alps.

This helicopter tour on Get Your Guide is very affordable and flies directly past Aoraki Mt Cook, over the icebergs of Tasman Terminal Lake and the Tasman Glacier before landing on an adjacent mountain.

The aerodrome is conveniently positioned just 5 minute's drive from Aoraki Village. I'd suggest taking the first flight of the day after breakfast at one of the hotels nearby.

Franz josef glacier from robert's point track

3. Mueller Hut Route

One of my personal favourite hikes in New Zealand also arguably offers the best views of New Zealand's tallest peak!

This popular overnight tramping route leads to the Mueller Hut, which is widely considered as one of New Zealand's most scenic alpine huts. Aoraki/Mount Cook and the glacial lakes and valleys below, seem to make up an epic, constant backdrop during the entire hike.

Tip: Freedom camping or staying in the Mueller Hut overnight is the best place to see Mount Cook during sunset.

Mueller hut mount cook view for sunset

4. Sealy Tarns Track

If the Mueller Hut route is too long or steep for you, then I'd suggest climbing up halfway to the Sealy Tarns. This track actually makes up the first section of the Mueller Hut hike and therefore offers a very similar view (albeit from a lower point).

The tarns themselves are also a great place to capture Mount Cook reflections! Aim to get here just after sunrise or just before sunset to get the clearest reflection photos.

Sealy tarns track new zealand

5. Kea Point Track

Another shorter option for hikes in Aorkai/Mount Cook National Park is the Kea Point Track.

Departing from the main hiking area in the National Park, this roughly 1-2 hour hike leads to an impressive viewpoint looking over Mount Cook and the Mueller glacial lake and moraine.

Although views are arguably more impressive from the steeper hikes, the Kea Point track is a good option for those with little time!

Hooker valley moraine glacial lake mount cook national park, kea point

6. Peters Lookout

Ahh, the iconic Mount Cook road photo. Peter's Lookout on the road to Mount Cook from Lake Pukaki is arguably the most scenic view of Aoraki that you'll get.

The lookout is perfect for those on a New Zealand road trip, since it's just a simple matter of pulling up to the lookout car park.

If you continue further up the road, there are also more iconic Mount Cook road photo opportunities, so get creative!

Road to mount cook at peters lookout, mount cook road photo
Peters lookout mount cook view

Is it Worth Driving to Mount Cook?

Driving the Pukaki to Mount Cook Village road is definitely worth it.

Not only is the road itself incredibly scenic, it also ends at Mount Cook National Park. This is the area where you will need to come for some of the best hikes in New Zealand including the Hooker Valley track and the Mueller Hut route.

7. Tasman Valley

The Tasman Valley runs from the Aoraki/Mount Cook range on the other side of the Hooker Valley.

Although the Hooker Valley is much more popular, the Tasman Valley hike is also one of the best places to see Mount Cook.

Furthermore, there are a few short hikes that allow visitors to check out the largest glacier in New Zealand; the Tasman Glacier!

Tasman glacier viewpoint hike to the moraine wall

8. Lake Matheson

Located on the South Island's West Coast, Lake Matheson is very popular due to its perfectly positioned reflections of Mount Cook.

During a short walk around the lake, you'll find a wooden viewing platform known as Reflection Island.

From here, Mount Cook reflects magnificently in the calm waters of the lake. Again, for clearest reflection photos, make sure to visit during golden hour, either just after sunrise or just before sunset.

Matheson lake new zealand

9. Fox Glacier Village

Beside from opportunities to spot the Fox Glacier, the village and surrounding countryside also offers great views of Mount Cook's western face.

If you have a car or camper, I highly recommend driving towards Lake Matheson, just outside the village. Here, you'll get to experience some of the best countryside landscapes with Mount Cook backdrops.

Fox glacier village view of mount cook aoraki

RELATED: 6 Best Things to Do in the Catlins


10. Mount Fox Route

My personal favourite hike in New Zealand is the Mount Fox route. This challenging and steep climb to the summit of Mount Fox ends with breathtaking views of Mount Cook and the Fox Glacier.

Similarly to Lake Matheson, this Mount Cook view location is located on the West Coast. Therfore, a good itinerary idea is to hike up to the Mount Fox summit for sunrise, and finish the day with a sunset at Lake Matheson.

Tip: For the best chances of having a clear view, leave before sunrise to avoid midday and afternoon fog.

Mount fox hike viewpoint of mt cook
Peter's lookout drive we seek travel

Tip: How to Get Around in New Zealand

Rent a car! New Zealand is very safe for motorists & driving is the best way to explore the country.

I always DiscoverCars to get the best deals. Or, if you want a camper, I've had good experiences in NZ with Spaceships & Travellers Autobarn.

11. Lake Pukaki Lookout

The most beautiful lake in New Zealand - the otherworldly turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki is the perfect foreground to complement New Zealand's tallest mountain.

The lookout at Lake Pukaki is also a large campsite that is completely free for self-contained campers. We stayed here overnight during our recent road trip around the South Island and the sunset views did not disappoint!

Moutn cook view at pukaki lookout
Lake pukaki lookout at sunset

HEADING TO QUEENSTOWN?: 8 BEST HIKES IN QUEENSTOWN


12. Twizel to Pukaki Road

Another great location to see Mount Cook from the road is the road from Twizel, SH8 (Tekapo-Twizel Road). I've taken this road several times during my visits to New Zealand and every time the views have blown me away.

Then again, cloud cover tends to spoil the view in the afternoons. For the best road views, I'd suggest heading here in the early morning.

Mount cook view at lake pukaki
Lake pukaki lookout 6506558

Where to Stay Near Mount Cook Village

With so many amazing hiking opportunities in Mount Cook National Park, it's worth staying at least a night in the nearby Mount Cook Village. Below are the 3 top-rated options with links to check availability & pricing.

Bedroom views at aoraki court motel in mount cook village

1. Aoraki Court Motel

A spacious motel offering small, affordable rooms and large, two-bedroom apartments in the Mount Cook Village.

Mount cook lodge

2. Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Lodge Top-Pick

A beautiful lodge with spacious rooms accommodating everyone from couples to large families, just a 5-minute walk from the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.

Landscape views around the hermitage hotel

3. The Hermitage Hotel

An incredible hotel with mountain views & a warm fireplace, just a drive to the start of the Hooker Valley Track.

Alternatively, if you'd like to camp you can stay at the White Horse Hill Campsite near the Mount Cook National Park walking tracks.

Here, there are 60 unpowered sites and you’ll need to arrive early in peak season to secure a spot. It’s not possible to book online as it operates on a first-come-first-serve basis.

More Things to do in South Island New Zealand

I hope that you have enjoyed this quick guide to the best places to see Mount Cook (Aoraki). If you're looking for more things to do other than epic Mount Cook views, check out the list of free travel guides and blogs below.

If you're into hiking, check out this guide to the Best Hikes in South Island New Zealand.

11 best places to see mount cook
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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