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The Hooker Valley Track is the most popular short walking track within the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand.
At only 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) length and gaining only about 100 m (330 ft) in height, the well formed track can be walked by tourists with a wide range of level of fitness. The track is maintained by the Department of Conservation and has views of Aoraki / Mount Cook and access to the proglacial Hooker Lake, typically with icebergs floating in it.
Hooker Valley Track has been named one of the 'best day walks in New Zealand'. The lookout point at the end of the Hooker Valley Track is the closest any walking track comes to Aoraki / Mount Cook, and reveals completely unobstructed views of the highest mountain in New Zealand, with Hooker Glacier in the valley below.
There is also access to the shore of the glacial lake.
The vegetation around the track is open alpine tussock, and as such the track offers clear views of the mountains surrounding the wide valley floor of the Hooker Valley. Etymology The geographic Hooker items were named by the Canterbury provincial geologist, Julius von Haast, after the English botanist William Jackson Hooker. Description The Hooker Valley Track starts at the White Horse Hill camping ground, which can be reached from Mount Cook Village by either a 4 km (2.5 mi) sealed road, or a walking track of similar length connecting Mount Cook Village with the camping ground.
The walking track starts near the Hermitage hotel.
Adjacent to the camping ground, there is a car park, toilets, and a large modern shelter with informative panels. In winter, the access road to the White Horse Hill camping ground can sometimes be closed to vehicles following snowfall, but can be walked along from Mount Cook Village to get to the start of the track.
Alternatively, the connecting track from The Hermitage Hotel across the valley to the starting point of Hooker Valley Track is usually passable. The start of the Hooker Valley Track leads through open grassland, as it passes close to the Alpine Memorial, a memorial to the mountaineers who have died in the Mount Cook National Park over the years.
The memorial site overlooks the proglacial lake of Mueller Glacier.