Driving the road to Mount Cook is an absolute must in NZ

Located in the Canterbury region, on the South Island of New Zealand, Mount Cook Road is a very scenic drive along the turquoise coloured Lake Pukaki. It's one of the best coastal drives in the world.

Mount Cook Road

Can you drive to Mt Cook Village?

Part of the State Highway 80, the scenic road is totally paved and runs along the western shore of the milky-blue color 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.

How long is the road to Aoraki/Mount Cook?

Tucked away in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the road is 54.7 km (33.98 miles) long, running south-north from Ben Ohau to Aoraki/Mount Cook, also known as Mt Cook Village, at 718m (2,355ft) above the sea level, located midway between Christchurch and Queenstown.

Is Mount Cook Road worth it?

To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 40 and 60 minutes. However, due its beauty, the drive will take much longer. You’ll 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 scenery is just really breathtaking! There are plenty of spots to spot and admire the view. The best and most iconic is Peters Lookout. Make sure to stop at the 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.

Where was The Lord of the Rings filmed?

The area was used three times to backdrop major location scenes in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit Trilogies’.

Is Mount Cook Road open?

Set high in the Southern Alps, the road is usually open all year round. But it’s recommended that winter travellers carry chains for their vehicles at all times, and be prepared for sudden changes of weather with the possibility of road closures due to snowfall.

When was the road to Aoraki/Mount Cook built?

The road to the village further up the valley was built in the late 19th century and totally paved in 1976.