The Hooker Valley walk is regarded as one of the most beautiful Alpine walks in New Zealand. It’s nestled amongst the highest peaks in the Southern Alps, including Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest which stands at the head of the valley. This breathtaking walk is easy to follow. The Department of Conversation has done a great job with this track, which is suitable for walkers of all abilities and ideal for those that have young children.
From the Whitehorse Hill camping ground allow three hours return, it’s roughly 10 kilometres or 6.2 miles of walking. If walking from the Mount Cook village to the Hooker Valley walk add an extra 1-1.5 hours to your trek. Use the Kea Point Track which starts in front of the Hermitage.
Mount Cook Village is 42 kilometres or 26 miles from Twizel. Follow State Highway 8 and turn onto State Highway 80. Just before reaching the village, turn right into the Hooker Valley Road, at the road end is the Whitehorse Hill camping area. It’s well signed posted and there are toilets, a shelter and picnic area.
If you’re backpacking or don’t have your own transport here are some other transport options.
From Whitehorse Hill, the track starts just beyond the shelter and heads towards the Hooker River. Five minutes into the walk the track passes a memorial to climbers who have died in the park, it’s a great viewing point and definitely worth the visit, it’s a great spot for sunset photos. Just beyond this is another view point, the Mueller Glacier, it’s lake and the Hooker River. Continue onto the river and cross over two swing bridges as you make your way up the Hooker Valley to walk to the Stocking Stream Shelter.
Stocking stream shelter
Continue up the valley and cross the third swing bridge. A short climb brings you to the glacier lake where the track ends. The views of Mount Cook, the Hooker Glacier and the other peaks of the Southern Alps are breathtaking.
The Whitehorse Hill Campground is a great spot with Mt. Sefton in the background and easy access to the Hooker Valley Track. For accommodation in the Mount Cook Village check out Booking.com or Cheap hotels. I use them for all my accommodation needs – they offer great deals and rates.
- The information centre and restaurants are available in the Village.
- If camping or staying in self-contained units, there is no supermarket in the village. Stock up at Twizel before going. The souvenir store next to the check-in area of the Hermitage offers a small range of food supplies.
- The best time to visit is February when New Zealand’s weather is at its most settled and the warmest. October to April are still good months to walk, with the average temperature during this period ranging from 15 to 21 degrees Celsius. The summer season extends from November to February, where the temperature can be as warm as 30 degrees Celsius. In the cooler winter season, from June to September temperatures drop to below 0 degrees Celsius overnight, while sunny winter days’ average around eight degrees Celsius.
It is always essential to have the right hiking gear when on your trek, make sure you have the right clothing and plenty of food and water when tackling the Hooker Valley Walk.
To print the above map, click on Hooker Valley Track highlighted at the top of the map. The printing and PDF option at the bottom of this page will print or download the post except for the map. Once selected, choose actions to print the map. This map gives great information for getting to the start of the track, however, it’s only a guide of the route, for more detail on the track click on the topomap below, and this can also be printed.
For more information on where the ascents and descents are. Plus the distance and height at any point on the map, click on Hooker Valley Track highlighted at the top of the map. This will enlarge the map. Then click the box to show elevation, the graph will appear below the map. Run your cursor over the elevation graph, this will display on the map where the ascents and descents are. It will also give you the distance and height at any point on the map. It’s a useful tool for planning your walk. The topomap below gives similar information, especially the ascents and descents. However, you need to know how to read those maps to get that information. The mapometer map gives you that information and more by simply moving the cursor over the graph.
Learn more about NZ’s amazing walks!
Interested in seeing more of the country’s incredible natural beauty? Take a look around the website to learn about other outdoor adventures, such as the Great Walk Tongariro, in the Tongariro National Park. It’s the only way to truly see New Zealand!