Top 5 Short Walks in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Some of the best short walks (under 4 hours) in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.

All of these walks take less than 4 hours and start from Mt Cook Village.

1. Governors Bush Walk

Starting at the public shelter near the petrol station, the Governors Bush track meanders through silver beech forest to a lookout point before looping back to its start point. The walk takes an easy one hour return and includes a gentle climb. Governors Bush track is a lovely introduction to New Zealand native bush and birdlife.

Time: 1 hour loop

2. Bowen Bush Walk

This easy 10 minute walk starts opposite Alpine Guides, near the petrol station. It’s a simple loop track through totara and celery pine forest with informative plaques identifying plants en route. The track can be exited half way round the loop, where you will join up with the village path system.

Time: 10 minutes full loop

3. Glencoe Walk

Wind your way through totara trees and ferns to a great lookout above the village. The walk starts from behind the Hermitage hotel and ends at the water tanks, where you’ll find views of the village and Hooker Glacier.

Time: 30 minutes return

4. Hooker Valley Track

One of the most popular walks in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, this scenic walk leads you into the foothills of the Southern Alps and offers excellent mountain, glacier and river views. Start at the White Horse Hill campground (5 minute drive from the village centre; get directions from the visitor centre). The well-formed track meanders up and down as it winds its way around rocky hillsides and across multiple swingbridges before it finishes at the spectacular Hooker Glacier terminal lake. The alpine memorial (near the start of the track) and Stocking Stream day shelter (towards the end of the track) are good rest/view points.

Time: 3 hours return (campground to lake and back). Many walkers choose to go only as far as the first swingbridge (30 minutes return) or the second swingbridge (1 hour return).

5. Kea Point Walk

You can start this walk from the DOC Visitor Centre or the Whitehorse Hill campground. From the visitor centre, ask for directions to the Kea Point track. You’ll enjoy an easy walk through sub-alpine terrain and historic land formations caused by a stream that cut through this area and damaged the Hermitage Hotel in 1913. View the Mueller Glacier moraine wall and finish at the Kea Point viewing deck, with striking views of the Southern Alps and the Mueller Glacier lake. Return on the same track. Don’t forget your camera!

Time: 2 hours return to village. If starting and ending at the campground the walk is 1 hour return.