Romantic Experiences in Mt Cook
Let the “peak” of your couples’ escape around New Zealand be full of alpine wonder at the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park! Soar around the highest mountains in New Zealand, have a romantic picnic on the longest glacier, and even kayak to giant icebergs on a glacier lake. Aoraki Mt Cook is a place of unique activities and some of the “best” of what the South Island is known for, whether it’s stargazing or hiking among dramatic scenery. Incidentally, the highlights in Mt Cook team up as romantic experiences for couples, which we go through in this list of romantic things to do in Mt Cook.
1. Enjoy an Intimate Helicopter Flight
Aoraki Mt Cook is all about awe-inspiring scenery, so make it the place on your honeymoon or romantic getaway itinerary where you experience mesmerising landscapes from the sky. Helicopter tours provide an intimate experience, flying through vast glacier valleys, over iceberg-scattered lakes and landing on snowy peaks. The Helicopter Line (see Viator, Tripadvisor or KKday for more details) and INFLITE Experiences both offer exceptional helicopter tours including snow landings with a variety of flight durations to suit your timeframe and budget.
Location: The Helicopter Line – Glentanner Park, approximately 22km (14 miles) from Mt Cook Village. INFLITE Experiences – Mt Cook Airport, Mt Cook Road, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Mt Cook Village.
2. Land on the Tasman Glacier in a Ski Plane, Helicopter or Both (with the Option for a Private Picnic on the Snow)
INFLITE Experiences also offers a romantic alpine picnic, where you’ll fly up the Tasman Glacier valley via ski plane and land on the Tasman Glacier for a private picnic in the snow. Alternatively, their standard ski plane tour is pretty magical. Not only that, but it’s the only ski plane experience in New Zealand. And for something truly special, combine a ski plane experience with a helicopter flight on the same day on the Ultimate Alpine Combo.
Location: Mt Cook Airport, Mt Cook Road, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Mt Cook Village.
3. Tackle the Mt Cook Hikes Together
Complement your sightseeing tours of Mt Cook with one of the free hikes in the national park. That way, you can experience the majestic mountains, just the two of you. The Hooker Valley Track is a popular one, taking three hours to complete and incorporating views of the Mueller Glacier, Hooker Lake and more. See what our friends at New Zealand Sorted thought about the Hooker Valley Track.
Other romantic alternatives include the shorter Red Tarns Track and the Governors Bush Walk. Find out more about these walks and more in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Mt Cook and the 10 Must-Do Hikes Around Mt Cook.
Location: All over Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. See the links for location information.
4. Watch the Stars Together in a Dark Sky Reserve
There’s no more romantic way to end a day in Mt Cook than watching the stars. Aoraki Mt Cook is in the middle of an International Dark Sky Reserve meaning it has the best conditions to see vivid displays of faraway stars and galaxies. While simply stepping outside on a clear night and looking up is a worthy way to enjoy this experience, you’ll get more out of the experience on one of the stargazing tours. Big Sky Stargazing is based at The Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook and includes a planetarium show before you head out to learn about the constellations you’ll see through powerful telescopes.
Alternatively, Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat has a unique wine cellar observatory that incorporates wine and nibbles into your stargazing experience. Lakestone Lodge also has its own stargazing tour where you’ll lie back in a recliner or hammock with a warm blanket and a glass of mulled wine as your guide points out astronomical features you can see with the naked eye.
Location: Big Sky Stargazing – The Hermitage Hotel, 89 Terrace Road, Mt Cook Village. Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat – 86 Mt Cook Road, Lake Pukaki, approximately 53km (33 miles) from Mt Cook Village. Lakestone Lodge – 4589 Tekapo-Twizel Road, Lake Pukaki, approximately 59km (37 miles) from Mt Cook Village.
5. Check Out the Exhibitions and Artwork at the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre
If you find yourselves in Mt Cook on a rainy day, a good go-to is the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre. It’s better described as a museum and art gallery than a visitor centre, showcasing all kinds of captivating Maori carvings and artwork of the surrounding area. You’ll also learn about the flora, fauna and geography of the national park through various exhibitions, some with videos to watch. See more activities like this in the 6 Things to Do in Mt Cook on a Rainy Day.
Location: 1 Larch Grove, Mt Cook Village.
6. Do a Glacier Kayaking Tour
Sea-kayaking on a glacier lake? That’s just one of the crazy things you can do in New Zealand. Double-up in a sea kayak and test your teamwork as you join a small-group experience on the Tasman Glacier Lake. This unique opportunity allows you to kayak right up to towering icebergs that have broken off the glacier – the only place in New Zealand where you can have such an experience. You’ll stop in a glacier bay for lunch and learn a lot about the ever-changing glacier environment from your knowledgeable guide. Tours are available with Southern Alps Guiding based out of The Old Mountaineers’ Cafe.
Location: Depart from The Old Mountaineers’ Cafe, 3 Larch Grove, Mt Cook Village.
7. Explore the Tasman Glacier on a Heli-Hike
Despite the Tasman Glacier being the longest in New Zealand, it’s actually a hidden gem when it comes to glacier heli-hiking. Franz Josef and Fox Glacier take all the limelight on the other side of the Southern Alps but the Tasman Glacier offers an alternative glacier experience with small-group tours experiencing the ice caves, tunnels and other formations of this ever-changing river of ice. Heli-hikes are available with Mt Cook Glacier Guiding (INFLITE Experiences) and The Helicopter Line (on KKday and Tripadvisor).
Location: Both depart from the Mt Cook Airport, Mt Cook Road, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Mt Cook Village.
8. Indulge in a Spa Day Together
Hit the pause button and do some of the more relaxing things to do in Mt Cook, like indulging in a spa day together. Mt Cook’s luxury lodges like Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat and Lakestone Lodge can help you out there, offering relaxing treatments where incorporating the view of the brilliantly blue Lake Pukaki is a core part of the experience. Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat offers wellness programs, as well as a private day spa complete with a cedar hot tub, sauna, massage and fitness rooms.
Location: Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat – 86 Mt Cook Road, Lake Pukaki, approximately 53km (33 miles) from Mt Cook Village. Lakestone Lodge – 4589 Tekapo-Twizel Road, Lake Pukaki, approximately 59km (37 miles) from Mt Cook Village.
9. Have a Tipple at the Snowline Bar
Don’t expect any cosy cafes or intimate dining experiences in Mt Cook Village. Here, it’s all about grand dining halls with towering windows to encapsulate the views of New Zealand’s highest peaks. One of the more romantic options, however, that not as many visitors know about, is the slightly more intimate Snowline Bar hidden away in The Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook. It’s a good place to grab a barista coffee in the morning or enjoy a cocktail, craft beer or regional wine in the evening.
Location: The Hermitage Hotel, 89 Terrace Road, Mt Cook Village.
More Romantic Activities in Mt Cook
That’s it for our list of romantic things to do in Mt Cook for couples. For more experiences that might not necessarily fall under the “romantic” category but are just as good, check out the following guides:
- 10 Best Things to Do in Mt Cook
- 10 Luxury Experiences in Mt Cook
- 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Mt Cook
Finally, find more tips for planning the ultimate romantic getaway in The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to New Zealand and plan more of your itinerary using the South Island Honeymoon Itinerary: Two Weeks or the South Island Honeymoon Itinerary: One Week.