The Hooker Valley Track is one of New Zealand’s most popular day walks. An easy walk with incredible views of the Southern Alps, glacial streams and the majestic Aoraki (Mount Cook).

When it comes to incredible day hikes, it’s honestly hard to beat the Hooker Valley Track in terms of both views and ease of access.

Located in the incredible Mount Cook National Park, the Hooker Valley track winds up the glacial valley, crossing several scenic suspension bridges over glacial streams with ice-capped mountains on every side.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the Hooker Valley Track, including some useful tips to help you make the most of the hike.

Where is the Hooker Valley Track New Zealand?

The Hooker Valley Track follows the Hooker River up the Hooker Valley within the Mount Cook National Park. The trailhead is accessible from near the White Horse Hill campsite, located at the end of Mount Cook Road.


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How to Get to the Hooker Valley Track

Getting to the Hooker Valley Track requires a drive down one of New Zealand’s most scenic roads; Mount Cook Road. This road branches off from State Highway 8 (Tekapo-Twizel Road) at the junction just before Lake Pukaki.

The road to the Mount Cook National Park is sealed and well-maintained. However, it does close occasionally during Winter due to storms.

Mount cook road

GUIDE TO IMAGE ABOVE: Peters Lookout on the Road to Mount Cook


GPX File

Here is the GPX recording of the track that I took. I recorded this track using my Garmin GPS watch. You probably won’t need it for navigation.

GPX File: Download

My Strava: Visit


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Transport Options

Luckily, if you don’t have a car, then you can still get to the Hooker Valley Track by booking a shuttle bus. There are a few companies that offer this service. I found Cook Connect to be one of the most popular options.

They have pick up locations in Glentanner, Twizel and Lake Tekapo. Prices for transfers range from $41 return.

Tip: For those without a car looking to save money, it’s also very easy to hitchhike to the Mount Cook National Park since there is only one way in and one way out.

What to Expect on the Hooker Valley Track

Hike Distance and Duration: 10KM – 2-3 hours
Elevation: ~100M elevation gain
Difficulty: Easy

The Hooker Valley Track is an easy track that is suitable to varying fitness levels. The track is mostly flat, with only about 100M of elevation change spread out over the 10KM track.

The trailhead is located just near the car park to the White Horse Hill Camp site, on the right side of the road as you drive into the large car parking area.

The track leads up the Hooker Valley, with views of Mount Cook visible along the entire length of the hike.

HOOKER VALLEY NEW ZEALAND

Shortly after departing, you’ll reach a moraine viewpoint, with informative signposts that explain the alpine geology, courtesy of the DOC.

There are a total of three swing bridges on the Hooker Valley Track. The first one crosses the Hooker River with excellent views over the Mueller Lake.

HOOKER VALLEY SUSPENSION BRIDGE

After the second swing bridge, you will notice that the landscape changes to a tussock plain, with wooden boardwalks preventing hikers from trampling the native grassland.

HOOKER VALLEY TRACK TUSSOCK PLAINS

After a final river crossing over a once again, spectacular swing bridge, the track leads hikers towards the Hooker Lake. On a clear day, it’ll seem like you’re walking directly towards Mount Cook herself, towering just behind a small hill.

HIKING THE HOOKER VALLEY TRACK
MOUNT COOK ON THE HOOKER VALLEY TRACK NEW ZEALAND

RELATED: 6 BEST DAY HIKES IN MOUNT COOK NATIONAL PARK


Hooker Lake

Hooker Lake marks the end of the Hooker Valley track. From here, you’ll have incredible views of New Zealand’s tallest mountain and far-spanning views across the glacier dotted lake.

You can also walk further to the shore of the lake, where you can get a closer glimpse of the huge chunks of ice making their way to the source of the Hooker River.

Hooker lake

From here, the Hooker Valley track leads back to the car park, the same way you came in. This time, the predominant view is of the Sealy mountain range.

SEALY MOUNTAIN RANGE
Klook.com

MORE: 11 EPIC MOUNT COOK VIEW LOCATIONS – BEST PLACES TO SEE MOUNT COOK


Too Cloudy?

Bad weather seems to be more common than a clear day in this region. When we visited, we waited days for a good opportunity to hike the Hooker Valley Track.

However, if you are low on time, don’t skip this hike just because of a bit of cloud cover. Remember that this is an alpine region and the weather changes very quickly. Sometimes, this can be a blessing, especially when the clouds part perfectly for a brief moment revealing the grandiose peaks and glaciers of this incredible destination.

MOUNT COOK

Camping in the Mount Cook National Park

By far, the best place to stay overnight at the Mount Cook National Park is the White Horse Hill Campsite.

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.

Fees are $15 per night per person.

Alternatively, for those who prefer a room or hotel, you can stay in the nearby Mount Cook Village. Popular options include the famous Alpine Lodge and the Mt Cook Lodge.

More Photos From the Hooker Valley Track in New Zealand

Here are some more of my favourite photos from the hike. We were very fortunate to have good weather to be able to capture some clear shots!

HIKING THE HOOKER VALLEY TRACK IN NEW ZEALAND
HOOKER VALLEY TRACK
HOOKER VALLEY TRACK NEW ZEALAND
HOOKER VALLEY SUSPENSION BRIDGE
HOOKER VALLEY SWING BRIDGE
HIKING THE HOOKER VALLEY TRACK
MOUNTAINS IN MOUNT COOK NATIONAL PARK

MORE THINGS TO DO NEAR MOUNT COOK AND LAKE TEKAPO

I hope that you enjoyed this quick and easy guide to hiking the Hooker Valley Track New Zealand.

If you have any track updates or questions, make sure to help other travelers out by leaving a comment below.

For now, why not check out some more travel guides and articles around Mount Cook and the incredible Lake district. Also, get some more hiking inspiration by checking out this guide to the 6 Best Hike in Mount Cook National Park and this guide to the 31 Best Hikes in South Island New Zealand.

HOOKER VALLEY TRACK NEW ZEALAND

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