Single Day Hikes - Detailed Info

Day hiking and trekking at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park means more than walking the classic Hooker Valley track. Alpine Guides offers professionally guided interpretive day treks for the more adventurous hiker. Some hikes explore well off the beaten track, on to breathtaking high points surrounding the Village.

Operating October through April

Our hikes are booked on a private basis and available every day through the spring and into the autumn. You can choose a date and book as an individual, or with a friend, or small group.

We do not offer individual spaces on group hikes. We believe that bigger is not necessarily better. A smaller group means a more intimate experience, and space to appreciate this incredible landscape.

Hikes are possible outside the advertised periods, subject to both guide availability and route conditions.

Day hike locations - click for larger image.

Mount Sebastopol - 5 to 6 hours return

Mount Sebastopol (1,468 m) is the closest peak to Mt Cook Village. Total height gain is 750 metres (approx. 2,475 ft). This is a fun ascent with spectacular views. It is a shorter day than Mt Ollivier (less than 6 hours), but slightly more 'technical' than the other day hikes. The climb is by a maintained track for approx. 300 metres, and then by an unmarked route to the breathtaking summit.

You must be confident on uneven ground. There is scrambling and some exposure near the summit. The guide may use a rope for some sections.

The summit gives uninterrupted views down the length of the Tasman Valley to Lake Pukaki, and across to the glaciated peaks at the head of the Tasman Glacier. Kea are common visitors up here.

The descent is by the same route, with a possible scree run for those keen for some adventure.

Guide to Participant Ratio: maximum of 4 participants per guide.

Sebastopol from Mt Cook Village

Mount Wakefield Ridge - approx. 7 hours return

Mount Wakefield sits directly across the valley from Mt Cook Village. From there its massive scree fan is a dominant feature of the eastern view. Wakefield is seldom visited, so you will normally have the mountain to yourself. We climb over 700 metres to a point on the ridge.

The steep track begins beneath a stand of Mountain Beech. After 30 minutes the gradient relents and the climb opens into grassy meadows of Mt Cook Lilies and Celmissia.

Once on the ridge, the vistas into the Tasman Valley, and down to Mt Cook village are stunning. Lake Pukaki stretches into the distance to the south. We continue following the ridge over a couple of rocky outcrops that involve some easy scrambling.

After 3 hours the top of the ridge provides a spectacular place to take lunch and absorb the view. This is a prime location to see NZ Falcons, or perhaps Himalayan Tahr grazing across the slopes.

Fit parties who move well on rough terrain may continue to one of several small ‘peaks’ between 1,800 and 2,000 metres elevation. The descent is by the same route.

Guide to participant ratio: maximum of 4 participants per guide.

High on Wakefield Rdge


Previous trekking experience is essential. Our hikes involve leaving marked and formed, trails, uphill and downhill travel, stepped, and natural surfaces. 

You must have good aerobic fitness, and able to walk for at least 5 hours over uneven terrain carrying a small backpack (4 to 5 kg).

Descending from Sebastopol summit

Included in Price

  • Mountain guide services
  • Local transport to track starting points (if required)
  • Safety equipment:ice axe, crampons, helmets, ropes, etc., if required

Equipment List

Please bring all of the following items. Your guide will go through your gear prior to departure and advise on specific items based on the expected weather and conditions.

New Zealand is known for its variable weather - even over the space of one day. You must be prepared for a range of weather conditions - from warm to cool temperatures, and for sun and rain protection. UV is intense in New Zealand, so pack plenty of sun protection.

  • Small backpack (25 to 30 litres) – large enough to carry all personal, lunch and water
  • Hiking boots
  • Bottle of drinking water (at least 1.5 litres capacity)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun block ( at least SPF 30) and lip block
  • One or 2 hiking poles (optional but kind to the knees!)

Come prepared with as many options as possible. Choose light-weight quick drying fabrics designed for outdoor activities - avoid cotton garments where possible.

  • Peaked cap for sun hat and a warm hat (beanie)
  • Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Windproof jacket
  • Trekking pants
  • Lightweight gloves (polypro are ideal)
  • Neck gaiter (e.g. Buff) or bandanna for sun protection
  • Comfortable hiking socks
  • Thermal top (merino, polypro, or similar)
  • Thermal pants (long johns) if weather is cool
  • Warm top (fleece jersey or similar)

Alpine Guides has boots, jackets, rain pants, packs and hiking poles available to rent if required.

Reporting Details

Unless otherwise arranged you should meet your guide at 08:30 at our office in Mount Cook Village.

If the weather is forecast to be very warm we may make an 'alpine start', to make use of the cooler hours of the morning. We will advise the day prior to your hiking trip.

Poor Weather Alternatives

Weather conditions in the mountains can change rapidly. We can receive snow at any time of the year. If hiking is not possible on the route of choice Alpine Guides will arrange an alternate hiking activity. This may involve travel away from Mount Cook Village. There will be no additional cost.

Your Guides & Safety

Our guides are professional qualified mountain and alpine trekking guides certified by the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA affiliated). 
All guides hold pre-hospital emergency care level first aid certification and carry a first aid kit. Our guides have constant communication with Alpine Guides base through our radio system, or satellite phone.

Age Restrictions

Minimum age is 15 years.

Lunch and Snacks

Meals are not included in the price. Please pack a lunch, including any snacks you like.

Booking and Dates

Alpine Trekking trips are available any day through the hiking season. Bookings are dependent on guide availability.

Please check with us for the dates that suit your travel plans prior to making a reservation.

Terms and Conditions

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