Peters Lookout on the scenic road to Mount Cook offers one of the best road views in New Zealand. From the viewpoint, Mt Cook Road gently snakes its way underneath the Ben Ohau Range, just beside the turquoise-coloured Lake Pukakai.
Peters Lookout on the road to Mount Cook offers one of those bucket-list road trip photo snaps. On a clear day, views from the lookout and the road reach far out to the incredible Aoraki (Mount Cook).
In this quick guide, I’ll be showing you where to go and tips for getting the perfect New Zealand road trip shot.
- The Road to Mount Cook
- How to Get to Peters Lookout
- Best Photo Spots
- Tips for Capturing the Perfect Mount Cook Road Photo
- More Epic Experiences at Mount Cook National Park
- Can You Fly Drones on Mount Cook Road or at Peters Lookout?
- Where to Stay Near Mount Cook
- Camping at Mount Cook National Park
- More Photos of Peters Lookout and the Road to Mount Cook
- More Free New Zealand Travel Guides and Blogs
The Road to Mount Cook
The road to mount cook, appropriately named Mt Cook Road, is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand, and up there with one of my favourite in the world.
Following the edge of the turquoise Lake Pukaki, the road leads directly toward Mount Cook National Park.
As you drive along, it seems as if the mountains get larger and larger with each passing kilometer.
There are plenty of spots to spot and admire the view. The best and most iconic is Peters Lookout.
How to Get to Peters Lookout
Peters Lookout is located approximately 13 KM down Mount Cook Road (SH80) near the Ben Ohau Range (driving towards Mount cook). There are several signs on the road before the lookout car park, so you won't have any trouble finding it.
For those driving to Peters Lookout from Wanaka, expect around 2 hours of driving. From the turnoff at Pukaki, it should take less than 15 minutes to reach the lookout.
The car park is located on the right side of the road if you are driving towards Mount Cook. There is adequate parking for dozens of vehicles here. However, it can get busy, especially during peak season.
Best Photo Spots
There are plenty of photo opportunities on the road to Mount Cook for both aspiring photographers and opportunistic road-trippers.
For Peters Lookout, I found that the best angles that capture the road, Mount Cook and Lake Pukaki were from the wooden fenced viewing area near the car park.
For immersive road photos, you can snap some great shots from the road just after the turnoff to the car park. Just be mindful of cars and don't stand out on the middle of the road.
Continuing the drive to Mount Cook, there are a few more excellent photo spots as you get closer. Get creative and don't be afraid to pull over when the opportunity arises.
Tip: Make sure there is adequate space to pull over. We saw a car that had been bogged when they pulled over on the side of what they thought was a grassy area.
Tips for Capturing the Perfect Mount Cook Road Photo
Below are some useful tips to get the best shots possible.
- Shoot during golden hour (the hour before sunset and the hour after sunrise)
- Get creative - low and high angles
- Wait for weather clearing - those clouds around Mount Cook are annoyingly persistent
- Shoot in Winter - this is one I couldn't help but I've seen some crisp shots of the low Mount Cook snow line which looks fantastic
More Epic Experiences at Mount Cook National Park
In a rush and prefer to have your trip to Mount Cook organized in advance? Check out these three unmissable Mount Cook experiences!
- From Queenstown: 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.
- 45-minute Mount Cook Ski Plane & Helicopter Combo - surprisingly affordable experience including a thrilling aerial tour by both ski plane and a helicopter!
- Tasman Glacier Heli Hike - See the Tasman Glacier from above and land on the Franz Josef or Tasman Glacier for an epic Glacier Hike (all gear provided)
Can You Fly Drones on Mount Cook Road or at Peters Lookout?
The short answer is no. Well, unless you have a permit, which is difficult to get unless you are a professional photographer. There are even signs all around Peters Lookout warning people not to fly drones. I'm not sure if there are DOC that patrols the lookout, but it's best to respect local restrictions.
We were working with a company at the time and had special permission to fly my drone on Mount Cook Road.
Where to Stay Near Mount Cook
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.
- Aoraki Court Motel - a spacious motel offering small, affordable rooms and large, two-bedroom apartments in the Mount Cook Village.
- Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Lodge - beautiful lodge with spacious rooms accommodating everyone from couples to large families, just 5 minute's walk from the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.
- Aoraki Alpine Chalet - an incredible chalet with mountain views & a warm fireplace, just a short walk to the start of the Hooker Valley Track.
Camping at Mount Cook National Park
By far, the best place to stay overnight at 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.
More Photos of Peters Lookout and the Road to Mount Cook
Below are some more photos from Peters Lookout, the road to Mount Cook and other Mount Cook views. I hope they inspire you to capture some great, unique shots.
I'd also love to see the photos that you guys take. Tag a link to your instagram in the comments below if you capture a banger.
More Free New Zealand Travel Guides and Blogs
I hope you found this quick guide to Peters Lookout and the Mount Cook road photo opportunity useful. For more free travel guides check out some of the links below, or start with this mega-post to the 31 Best Hikes in South Island New Zealand.