All-weather and Indoor Activities in Aoraki Mt Cook
It’s true, most of the experiences in Mt Cook, whether it’s flying in a helicopter or hiking, does require some good weather. If you find yourself in Aoraki Mt Cook on a rainy day, don’t just sit in your motel room sulking. Try these things to do in Mt Cook on a rainy day!
For more Mt Cook tips, see The Complete Guide to Mt Cook.
1. Visit the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre
Whatever the weather, a good place to start in Aoraki Mt Cook is the local visitor centre. Although a visitor centre doesn’t sound too exciting, the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre is actually more like a museum and an art gallery. The free indoor attraction invites you in with spectacular Maori carvings and artwork. Check out an array of exhibitions on about the national park’s flora, fauna and landscape, including video demonstrations. See more activities like this in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Mt Cook.
Location: 1 Larch Grove, Mt Cook Village.
2. Check Out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
Another museum-like attraction, the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre couples up as a good thing to do in Mt Cook on a rainy day. Located inside The Hermitage Hotel, the all-weather venue is a tribute to the New Zealander who was among the first to summit Mt Everest. Learn about his life and mountaineering training in this small museum, which also houses historical transport and hotel relics from Mt Cook’s history. There’s also a 2D and 3D Dome Planetarium which has regular showings on the flora, fauna and night sky in the national park. Note that there is an admission fee.
Location: The Hermitage Hotel, 89 Terrace Road, Mt Cook Village.
3. Walk in the Forest of the Governors Bush Walk
While most of Mt Cook’s walks are no too appealing (or safe if you’re going higher up) in the rain, the Governors Bush Walk breaks the mould. Sheltered under a canopy of beech trees, this one-hour loop walk is quite pleasant in the rain. You might even be lucky enough to spot a kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, or fantails along the way. The walk is a good one for families, as featured in the 7 Things to Do in Mt Cook with Kids. Oh, and still remember to take a rain jacket; we can’t guarantee that you won’t get wet.
Location: Mt Cook Village Public Shelter, 59 Bowen Drive, Mt Cook Village.
4. Treat Yourself to a Spa Day
A rainy day in Mt Cook means a spa day, especially if you’re staying in one of Lake Pukaki’s luxury lodges. For instance, Lakestone Lodge offers indulgent spa treatments amidst its dedicated Therapy Room. Alternatively, guests staying in the Ashley Mackenzie Villa of Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat have access to their own private spa complete with a sauna, massage room, fitness room and an outdoor hot tub with glorious lake views. Want to know more about these accommodations? Check out the 5 Best Luxury Accommodation in Mt Cook.
Location: Lakestone Lodge – 4589 Tekapo-Twizel Road, Lake Pukaki, approximately 59km (37 miles) from Mt Cook Village. Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat – 86 Mt Cook Road, Lake Pukaki, approximately 53km (33 miles) from Mt Cook Village.
5. Have a Bite to Eat with a View (of Clouds)
Depending on how rainy your rainy day in Mt Cook is, eating at one of the restaurants, with their large floor-to-ceiling windows, might just bring you views of clouds… But if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the weather when it winds through the mountains, which is always an impressive sight. Either way, you can make a rainy day a day to head out to Mt Cook’s restaurants and cafes. Some of your options include The Old Mountaineers’ Cafe pouring organic coffee, serving burgers and other Kiwi favourites. The Hermitage Hotel brings all of the other restaurants to Mt Cook, such as the fine-dining plates of The Panorama Restaurant, the buffets of The Alpine Restaurant, and the casual atmosphere and big-screen games at the Chamois Bar & Grill.
Location: The Old Mountaineers’ Cafe – 3 Larch Grove, Mt Cook Village. The Panorama Restaurant and Alpine Restaurant – The Hermitage Hotel, 89 Terrace Road, Mt Cook Village. Chamois Bar & Grill – Glencoe Access Road, Mt Cook Village.
6. Watch New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year
If all else fails, you can always get some inspiration for your next epic New Zealand activity by watching New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year on YouTube. Watch as the team behind NZ Pocket Guide take on 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand! Make sure to subscribe.