Hooker Valley Track – New Zealand

For so many years I have wanted to hike along the Hooker Valley Track in New Zealand.  I was fortunate enough recently to make my dream come true.  In April this year, on a perfect Autumn day, my wife and I set out to do the 8 km (5 mile) 4 hour round trek to the base of Mount Cook and Hooker Lake via the Hooker Valley Track and let me tell you … it was SPECTACULAR!

 

Hooker Valley Track
Mount Cook Road heading towards the Hooker Valley Track past Lake Pukaki.

 

It was everything I dreamt it would be.  Besides the jaw dropping alpine scenery, I was also witness to avalanches (from a distance),  flowing streams, suspension bridges, wildlife, icebergs (yes, icebergs!) and of course seeing Mount Cook up close is something else.

 

Hooker Valley Track
You’ll find the trails on the Hooker Valley Track are well maintained. Just love that view!

 

I chose to travel light in terms of camera equipment.  I took my Nikon D800 and Sony RX100 Mark 3 and a smaller lighter tripod.  This paid off in the end because I have gone on much longer hikes with a full camera kit and lenses.  At the end of those hikes my legs felt like jelly, on this hike I felt really good and still energetic at the end.

 

Hooker-Valley-Track
From every angle, every view point, the landscape is just stunning.

 

Hooker Valley
Beautiful suspension bridges along the Hooker Valley Track. They’re bouncy and fun!

 

 

Hooker Valley Track
The Stocking Stream Shelter is at about the three quarter way mark into the Hooker Valley Track.

 

 

Hooker Valley Track
Mount Cook and the surrounding mountains reflect into the Alpine Tarn. Taken with my Nikon D800 and 14-24mm lens.

 

Here are some tips regarding the Hooker Valley Track.  Firstly, make sure you take some food and water.  Just snacks would be enough to get you by.  I took a large Gatorade, a pre made sandwich, nut bar and packet of chips.  I found that more than enough to keep me rolling along.  Secondly, make sure you have sunscreen and a good quality brand insect repellent, especially in the early morning or late evening.  Thirdly, DON’T RUSH, I was moving along at a pretty fast pace going in on the track and I wish I would have walked slower because you come to the end soon enough at Hooker Lake.

 

Hooker-Valley-Track
Nice place to stop for a rest and bite to eat don’t you think?

 

 

Hooker Valley Track
Icebergs float in Hooker Lake at the base of Mount Cook on the Hooker Valley Track.

 

I would describe the hike somewhere between easy to moderate.  Let me put it this way, I saw 70 something year old people with walking canes passing me going back towards the main campsite, so my immediate thoughts of what lay before me fitness wise were instantly relieved.  I had trained for months beforehand, but in the end I didn’t really need it.  What you will notice is the hike in is a bit harder than the hike out due to the ever so slight upwards grade to the base of Mount Cook and Hooker Lake.

 

 

Hooker Valley Track
Long exposure shot with 10 stop ND filter, a stream flows off Hooker Lake. Mount Cook in the distance.

 

Have you been to the Hooker Valley Track?  Perhaps you’re thinking of doing it soon?  If so, I’d love to hear from you and your experience in the comments below.  Please feel free to say hello.

 

For more photos and adventures please follow my Instagram account @adrianalfordphotography or check out my Facebook page – Adrian Alford Photography.  Thanks for reading 🙂

 

Hooker Valley Track – dream accomplished.

 

Hooker Valley Track

 

2 Comments

  • Therese Harrigan

    Another one for my bucket list! A combination of a couple of my favourite things to do – travel and hike. And we still haven’t managed to get to New Zealand yet. It is definitely up the top there of next things to do. All your beautiful photos keep pushing it further and further up the list.

    • adrian

      Thank you Therese, yes absolutely the NZ road trip is something you will love!
      Everywhere you go you’ll always stop and take a picture because the scenery is so
      incredible 🙂