Hooker Valley track bridge

Scenic views on the Hooker Valley Track

Besides the Ben Lomond track and the hike to Roys Peak, we really wanted to do one other hike in the South Island: the Hooker Valley Track, with supposedly incredible views. (OK, we wanted to do a few more, but we needed to make some hard choices.) The track leads you past the Hooker River toward the Hooker Lake, from which the views of Mt. Cook (the highest mountain in New Zealand) are said to be amazing. Of course, we couldn’t wait to see this for ourselves!

Lucky for us, this hike is relatively easy, especially compared to the other two. The 10 km track is pretty even all throughout. It doesn’t require as much of the hiker in terms of fitness level. We (or better yet: our legs) were glad to hear that, as we planned on doing the track two days after hiking Roys Peak.

Mt. Cook

With this in mind, we started our journey to the beginning of the track. If the road leading us towards Mt. Cook was any indication of the track itself, we were in for a beautiful walk. While driving past Lake Pukaki, the winding road offered a continuous view of the mountain as we approached closer. We picked a campsite nearby to stay for the night. We heard that the Hooker Valley Track is very popular and can be really busy in the summer months. So, we were advised to start early in the morning (think 7 am or so) to avoid the crowds. Spoiler alert: that didn’t happen. Turns out we were pretty tired and ended up starting the walk no earlier than 11 am. 

But of course, they were right. As we pulled up in our car in the parking lot, we saw many, many other cars. And so we started our walk with at least ten others and shared the first lookout with no less than twenty. However, we could see why it was so busy. The Hooker Valley is truly beautiful and the track leads you from one scenic view to the next.

The Hooker Valley track & scenic views

The walk is indeed easy, but gets a bit of an adventurous feel by the three swing bridges spanning across the river. Despite being totally safe, they can bounce pretty intensely as hikers pass in different directions. It definitely was a fun addition to the hike. Each time you passed a bridge, it showed you another amazing view. As we hiked further, we heard small avalanches on another nearby mountain in the Southern Alps.

After about one and a half hours, we reached the end of the track. We immediately saw the most scenic views on the Hooker Valley track: the Hooker Lake, with the beautiful Mt. Cook in the backdrop. Although it was a cloudy day and the peak of Mt. Cook hid in the clouds, the view was no less than spectacular. We sat down for a while to enjoy the view and took some photos, before heading back.

Hooker Valley track views

So, would I recommend the track? Yes! The views on the Hooker Valley track really are amazing and the walk itself is relatively easy. So, if you’re in the area (or even if you’re not), I’d definitely spent a few hours enjoying the Valley. Furthermore, the track has pretty good facilities, probably because it’s quite popular. There’s a campground with decent toilets and running water at the beginning of the track, as well as toilets and picnic tables near the end. But, if you’re like me and prefer your tracks not to be overcrowded, better set your alarm a bit earlier than we did and enjoy a quieter walk. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience hiking the Hooker Valley track and that you’ll give it a go yourself! Let me know in the comments if you do try it, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Want more info on the ins & outs of the track before you go? Check out the DOC’s website on the hike.

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HEY! I'M ANNE ELISE
EARTH WANDERER + STORY TELLER

I’m a 25 year old busy bee who’s crazy about exploring new places, getting to know new people and going on adventures. You can find me with a camera in one hand and a latte in the other. Preferably on the beach – my favorite spot in the world. 

When I’m not traveling, I’m on my laptop documenting writing down my stories, running my company or on the lookout for vegan food. 

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