10 ‘Must Do’ Activities in Aoraki / Mt. Cook
Live Your #MyINFLITE Bucket List in Aoraki / Mt. Cook.
Discover why there is no business like snow business in the rocky highlands of the Aoraki/Mt. Cook area. The region in winter is best known from hiking to bicycling to high-flying thrills. Here are 10 bucket list items to tick-off in your Mt. Cook #MyINFLITE experiences for your winter wonder adventure.
1. Fly above the spectacular Southern Alps of New Zealand’s mystique landscape.
New Zealand is simply picturesque, other countries may have the scenery, but NZ is simply unparalleled with nature’s drama and diversity in every few square kilometers. Get ready to be astonished as you unravel the expansive ice-lands and breath-taking clean glaciers from the comfort of your luxurious helicopter or ski plane through Mt. Cook Ski Planes and Helicopter by INFLITE’s Scenic Flights.
Aoraki / Mt. Cook and Westland National Park can be seen from the air for anything between a 10- minute overview to over an hour witnessing all the hidden gems of the area. On the east coast of the South Island, the Southern Alps, an icy range, is crowned by Aoraki / Mt Cook. Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier are two other well-liked tourist spots in New Zealand’s perpetual winter wonderland.
2. Ski in New Zealand’s longest glacier, the Tasman.
Ski or board Tasman Glacier with the 27-km stretch that covers an area of 101 square kilometers. Explore the Tasman sitting below New Zealand’s highest mountain – Mount Cook. A unique NZ skiing or boarding adventure for all ages & abilities awaits.
Mt. Cook Ski Planes and Helicopter by INFLITE offers ski or board the Tasman Packages with two ski runs included. In the ‘Ski the Tasman’ package, Mount Cook Ski Planes and Helicopters will fly the ski party into the top of the Tasman Glacier, taking a different line and starting from a different landing spot for each of the two runs.
3. Capture the exquisiteness of the terrain on the glacier ski between open snowfields to “canyons” between seracs.
Heads-up, the kicker for this item is the runway with a sparkling white swathe of ice. Book a private charter through the Tasman to snap and capture breathtaking portraits of the region.
Be quick and don’t miss a chance to snap-in those photos or better yet record it through a video to get most of the neck-prickling thrill of being close to the highest peaks of the southern alps – soaring, snow-streaked greywacke and jagged icefalls. Swoop over South Westland, with its two mighty glaciers and shock of lush green podocarp forest tumbling down to the Tasman Sea.
4. Experience ultimate glacier take-offs and landings.
The ultimate way to see the Southern Alps is through Mount Cook Ski Planes & Helicopters’ tour or ski plane adventure. A 60 – minute glacier private flight will traverse the Main Divide to the West Coast and view the magnificent landscape of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Track north along the Tasman Sea before recrossing the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps to the Tasman Glacier.
Enjoy the stunning views of the Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park as you track south down the Tasman. Fly through the Grand Plateau and the Hochstetter Icefall as you pass under the east face of Aoraki / Mt Cook before descending over the Tasman Terminal Lake. A truly unforgettable aerial experience you shouldn’t miss.
5. Enjoy an ice-cave exploration and a picnic lunch on the snow.
This absolute escapade will start with a helicopter or ski plane, and in some cases, both depending on landing sites being used. Once your crampons or snowshoes are fitted, you’ll go exploring the amazing ice formations. Guided by an experienced team, this adventure will set you ready as you cut through steps in the glacier, using skills handed down from NZ’s Mountain pioneers.
From there you will be flown on a spectacular scenic flight to a mountain top where you will have a picnic provided with stunning views of Aoraki / Mt. Cook and the Southern Alps.
6. Activate a thrill-seeking synapse in your brain with a tandem skydive!
Experience the sensation of freedom by soaring over turquoise oceans, snow-capped mountains, and one of the most stunning sceneries on the planet. Suit-up and dress yourselves in a flight suit, goggles, gloves, and a Biggles helmet, while you tether tightly to your tandem-master.
Make your way to the door of the airplane before jumping out into the air with Skydive Mt. Cook. The freefall from 10,000ft to 15,000ft that lasts from about 20 seconds to 60 seconds of free fall. Providing a thrilling sightseeing experience, the jump and the freefall are exhilarating, and you don’t think about the laws of gravity during those couple of seconds. Instead, you’re overcome with a sensory overload, from the rushing sound of the wind to the clean smell of the air.
The earth below is a stunning tapestry of colors, unfiltered and vivid. Once the parachute opens, it’s suddenly quiet, and you have time to take in the breathtaking view of the Southern Alps’ craggy horizon, the Mackenzie Basin’s sweep of brown and gold, and the rivers, lakes, and bright blue canals flowing from the Benmore dam. Even the landing is smooth and gentle, allowing you to come to a stop on the ground with a puff of dust from the Mackenzie region, still riding the high of the adrenaline rush and pure, radical joy.
7. Begin a cycle trail adventure with a helicopter ride.
If you still have a craving for high altitudes, you have the option of commencing an adventure on the Alps 2 Ocean (A2O) Cycle Trail by taking a helicopter ride.
This trail stretches over 315km and has two starting points, one of which is the White Horse Hill campground located north of the Mt Cook village. Cyclists will pedal for 8km until they reach the Mt Cook Airport where they, along with their bikes, will be transported via helicopter across the Tasman River which is wide and fed by glaciers.
8. Walk and torque at the Hooker Valley Track in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.
The most popular trek within Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park is the Hooker Valley Walk, which takes three hours to complete and leads to a stunning milky-blue glacier lake. The lake is adorned with unusual-looking icebergs that have broken off from the Tasman Glacier.
If the weather is good, the views of Mt Cook are so breathtaking that you’ll want to stop frequently to capture them with your camera or simply enjoy the scenery. Sometimes, you can even hear the sound of ice cracking on the snowy slopes. Aside from this trek, there are several other walking trails in the park, including a half-hour walk that offers excellent views of the glacier, paths through a silver beech rainforest, a hike to alpine tarns, and walks that are perfect for nature and wildflower spotting. There are also a couple of demanding alpine treks suitable for those with proper gear, strong legs, and good stamina.
9. Look up and marvel at the Mackenzie region’s clear skies at night.
Spectacle the marvelous beauty of the sky, mountain and the lights. From high above the light in this area is magical, especially at dawn and dusk when the mountains glow pink and gold – and there’s no better spot to bookend your land- or sky-based adventures than
10. Relax and unwind after a long day of exploring at Sky Suites, Lake Pukaki.
Sky Suites, Lake Pukaki accommodation is situated amidst the stunning natural beauty of Lake Pukaki in Twizel and is conveniently located close to Pukaki airport. It is an excellent choice for travelers seeking a peaceful retreat from the busy city life, with spectacular views of the mountains and the calm waters of Lake Pukaki providing a tranquil and revitalizing experience.
Situated in the Mackenzie Basin near Twizel in the South Island of New Zealand, the place offers a view of the magnificent glacial lake renowned for its vivid turquoise hue. The lake boasts stunning vistas of the Southern Alps, which includes the highest mountain in New Zealand, Aoraki/Mount Cook. The property offers top-quality amenities and cozy accommodations, making it the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring the local surroundings. Whether you’re an adventure-seeker, nature lover, or just in need of some relaxation, Sky Suites Accommodation has something for everyone.