Located in central South Island of New Zealand, Mount Cook Road is a very scenic drive following the length of Lake Pukaki, a glacial lake that has become famous for its milky-blue color. It's one of the best coastal drives in the world.
The road, also known as State Highway 80, is asphalted. It’s 54.7 km long running along the shore of the Lake Pukaki. The road is pretty straight with not too many sharp bends, so it allows for easy driving. However, there is one one-lane bridge you will have to cross when you get closer to Mount Cook National Park. The road ends in the Mount Cook National Park. Driving up to Mount Cook you constantly feel the desire to stop, jump out of your car, take loads of pictures and just take a breath to soak in the beauty around you. The lake is another long large jewel in the Mackenzie Basin.
The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities. Don't forget your camera with lots of film/memory and fully charged batteries! The area was used three times to backdrop major location scenes in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit Trilogies’. The scenery is just really breathtaking! Make sure to stop at Peter’s Lookout on the way up for an excellent vantage point over the lake with Mount Cook beautifully framing it. As you get closer and pass the lake the incredible Mount Cook dominates the skyline providing awesome 360 degree views. A drive not to be missed!