Home to New Zealand’s tallest mountain (Aoraki Mt Cook) and longest glacier (Tasman Glacier), this national park is a bona fide outdoor playground. It has some of the best mountaineering in Australasia, but a number of easy alpine walks cater to the less intrepid too. Keep an eye out for kea, the famously cheeky mountain parrot – it’s all part of the fun. Coming in spring or summer? Look for the Mt Cook lily, the largest buttercup in the world.
At the foot of the mountain, beside scenic Lake Pukaki, sits Mt Cook village, the starting point for exploration. You’re guaranteed awe-inspiring views if you opt for a scenic flight over the snowy peaks. Encounters with the mighty Tasman glacier can be had by boat, heli-hiking or even skiing.