The Aroaki Mount Cook Mackenzie region
The Aroaki Mount Cook Mackenzie region offers:
Incredibly clear starry nights, brilliant sunny days, remarkable turquoise blue lakes, valleys of emerald green, snow-capped mountains and glaciers contribute to a truly breathtaking experience. This is a powerfully emotive landscape, over one million acres of high golden tundra encircled by sky piercing mountains – so come, put yourself in touch with nature in one of its grandest schemes – Aoraki Mt Cook Mackenzie – New Zealand’s treasure highland.
The Mackenzie Country is dramatic, its vast landscape punctuated by stunning glacial lakes and the bold man-made canal system which delivers hydro-generated energy to the cities and towns of New Zealand.
Make time to explore one of the world’s most energising regions, which when combined with the legendary hospitality of its people, will imprint a never to be forgotten vision in your memory.
Welcome to this land for all seasons in the heart of the South Island of New Zealand. The Mackenzie Country, as it is known, is a high inland basin beneath the Southern Alps and Mount Cook, south west of Christchurch.
Shaped by the giant forces of nature, massive glaciers have scoured the land leaving a trail of lakes and rivers across the landscape. Today you will see awesome mountain ranges – the snow capped Southern Alps stretching across the western horizon. Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain at 3,754 metres above sea level, towers over the expansive countryside.
Hidden in the mountains are magnificent glaciers including the famous Tasman Glacier which, at 27 kilometres in length, is one of the longest glaciers in the world to be found outside the polar regions. Flightseeing over the mountains and glaciers is a very accessible thrill for all but many will aspire to a closer connection with these wonders. Cross-country and downhill skiing, guided climbing, hiking, horse riding, camping, golf or mountain biking are just a few of the options for those who wish to take in some alpine air.
Melting snow from the glaciers and mountain peaks gives the lakes their distinctive turquoise blue colour. Lake Tekapo lies in the centre of the region and it is here that the hydro electric canals begin to channel the water into electricity for New Zealand. Canals built throughout the 1970’s link the lakes with the dams and also provide fresh water for the farming of salmon. Rivers wind through the high country plains to the Waitaki River system and offer great opportunities for fishing and four wheel drive safaris.
The Mackenzie District enjoys a wonderful climate with clear, crisp snowy winters and long, hot summers. Autumn is a riot of colour, while spring brings wild flowers blooming throughout the region. The warm summer season is from November to February, where the mercury often rises past 30 degrees. In the cooler winter season, from June to September temperatures drop to below 0 degrees celsius overnight, while sunny winter days average around 8 degrees.
The average monthly temperature in the region is: (Celsius)
|Month||Lake Tekapo||Aoraki Mount Cook|
Whether looking for a relaxing walk in native forest, a more demanding hike into alpine wilderness, or simply a quiet place to sit and enjoy the view, the Aoraki Mount Cook region has it all.
Naturalists the world over come to view the wondrous variety of flowering native plants and the unique insect and bird life in the area.
Glorious mountain walks to suit every degree of fitness show off the park’s rich flora, including the Mount Cook “lily”, the largest buttercup in the world.
The clay cliffs at Omarama (just off State Highway 1) are a spectacular naturally occurring land formation and are well worth the effort.
Scenic flights from Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook afford breathtaking views over the Southern Alps and countryside, with ski-plane landings on the Tasman Glacier providing an unforgettable experience. All ski options are available, including heli-skiing and ski touring, and guides are available for climbing, mountaineering, tramping, snowboarding and glacier exploration.
The region also offers a wide range of water sport activities and is a popular venue with sports people from all over the world.
With so many things to see and do, it is important to allow plenty of time to explore the area. The Aoraki Mount Cook Mackenzie region offers too much to see in one day – stay a while and explore.