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Region: Mount Cook
Region: Mount CookMt Cook, or Aoraki the Cloud Piercer, (3,754m) is New Zealand's highest mountain. Situated in the heart of the Southern Alps, Mt Cook is a national icon and perhaps represents the ultimate adventure in a country renowned for its high adrenalin exploits.
Awarded 'World Heritage' status in recognition of its qualities and rare beauty, the Mount Cook National Park covers an area of nearly 7,000 hectares of majestic alpine scenery with more than one third being in permanent snow and glacial ice. The park contains 22 of the 27 peaks over 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in New Zealand.
A special feature of this area is the mountain buttercup or Mount Cook Lily with its multitude of white blossoms that grace the land through spring and summer. The Park is also home to the mountain parrot, the kea, and also the yellow-breasted tomtit, tiny rifleman and the native pigeon.
Mount Cook township provides a quiet base for this recreational extravaganza. Dwarfed by a 'front garden' of high mountains and glaciers, the tiny village clusters at the end of the road around the Hermitage Hotel.
What To See
Near Mount Cook and in the heart of the McKenzie Country, you'll find Lake Tekapo. This lake has an astounding turquoise blue hue reflecting the surrounding mountains, the beautiful blue/green colour of the lake is caused by 'rock flour' which is finely ground particles of rock held in suspension in the melted water from the glaciers that run into the lake.
Overlooking the lake is the Church of the Good Shepherd which was built with locally gathered stone. From the altar window there is a beautiful view over the lake to the magnificent center of Aoraki/Mount Cook.
A little further along the front of the lake is the famous statue of the working collie dog whose help was invaluable to early settlers and indeed modern shepherds and farmers in the region.
The area is popular for a host of sports including skiing and ice skating in the winter, rowing, fishing, walking, mountain biking and boating in the summer.
Attractions and Activities
All flights include a snow landing either on a snow field or on a glacier. The Helicopter Line is based at Glentanner Station, a fully working high country sheep station located just 15 minutes from Aoraki/Mount Cook Village.
In 1955 the first ski plane landed on Tasman Glacier. Since then, Mount Cook Ski Planes have introduced visitors from all over the world to the dramatic landscape of the Southern Alps and Aoraki/Mount Cook.
Mount Cook Ski Planes offer a number of scenic flights that include the chance to experience the special thrill of landing on a glacier. The absolute peace and tranquility of being on a glacier high in the Southern Alps is an unforgettable experience. Here you feel close enough to touch the mountains as you absorb the silence of this pristine alpine environment.
Another way of viewing the Tasman Glacier is with Glacier Explorers, as they cruise on the lake at the end of the Tasman Glacier. Each tour includes commentary on the history and mechanics of the Glacier. Based at the Mount Cook Village.
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