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4 day mountain experience on the glaciers of Mt Cook or Westland National Park

Experience exploring the mountains and glaciers of the Mt Cook or Westland National Parks. Based from a high mountain hut you will be surrounded by New Zealand’s highest mountains, the scenery is simply incredible!

This is an ideal first mountain experience and as part of the trip you will learn glacier travel and mountaineering skills.

For fit and adventurous participants it is possible to learn ice climbing skills or climb a mountain as part of this awesome adventure. Access to the high mountain hut and glacier is by helicopter or ski plane, Normally these area’s are only visited by experienced mountaineers.

Each day of the expedition is spent exploring the local area. There are different options available depending on your groups goals and fitness. Activities include glacier walking, learning mountaineering skills, ice climbing, photography, climbing a mountain, or simply enjoying the scenery from close to the hut.


Mt Cook or Westland National Park. Plateau Hut, Kelman Hut, Tasman Saddle Hut, Pioneer hut, Centennial Hut.


Your guide will meet you at 8.30am on the first day of the trip at your accomodation. Alternatively, you are welcome to come to our office at Unit 403, 875 Frankton Rd in Queenstown.


This sample itinerary is based on a past Alpine Experience. The final location & itinerary will depend on the weather forecast and mountain conditions.

Day 1

Your guide will pick you up from your accomodation in Queenstown at 8.30am. After checking your gear it’s a 3 hour drive to Mt Cook airport. Once we arrive at the airport we will do an aircraft safety briefing before flying into the mountains by ski plane or helicopter, the scenery from the air is incredible as our aircraft takes us up the path of the glacier to our landing spot outside Plateau Hut. In the afternoon your guide will teach you how to use an ice axe and crampons.

Please note the New Zealand mountains are subject to periods of poor weather and sometimes the aircraft cannot fly into the mountains on the first day. If we are delayed we will base ourselves at Mt Cook village and explore the incredible local hiking tracks and scenery. We will fly into the mountains at the first opportunity.

Day 2

Good morning! You are now waking up in a New Zealand alpine hut situated on one of New Zealand’s largest glacier, the scenery is simply incredible! Today we will explore our local surroundings with a climb to Aylmer Col, a spectacular view point on the main divide of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, from the col you can look down over the west coast glaciers and out towards the Tasman Sea. The day starts with a lesson on glacier travel on how to travel safely on a rope while walking amongst crevasses.

Day 3

Today we will hike to the north western side of Hochstetter Dome and Lendenfield Saddle. For fit and adventurous groups a climb of Hochstetter or Mt Aylmer is possible.

Day 4

Todays adventure takes us on a journey down the Tasman Glacier, we will zig zag our way down crevasse fields under the mountains on the eastern side of the main divide travelling until we meet the confluence of the Darwin and Tasman Glaciers where we will meet our helicopter or ski plane for a flight out of the mountains. We will then drive back to Queenstown.



1 to 4 people
4 days
From $2,550
Mid October to April



  • Guide fees
  • Flight in and out of the mountains
  • Technical equipment hire
  • Hut fees
  • Meals and snacks
  • Ground transport
  • Group equipment


  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka


Experience required

No previous mountaineering experience is required. We can customise this trip to suit your fitness, goals, and sense of adventure.

Clothing & equipment

Hiking and climbing in the New Zealand mountains requires that you have high quality equipment and clothing due to the extremes of weather we experience. Please ensure you look carefully at our equipment checklist. At the start of the trip your guide will go through your equipment and make sure that you have everything that you need for the trip. Please organise to have your extra equipment stored at your accomodation for the duration of the trip.

It is important that you keep as close as possible to the equipment checklist. The focus is on ensuring that you have the equipment you need, but also on keeping your pack as light as possible. If your guide is meeting you at your accomodation for the start of the trip it would be helpful if you have all your equipment and clothing organised and laid out in a logical fashion so they can check that everyone has the right equipment and clothing for the trip.

Accomodation during the trip

In the mountains you will stay in mountains huts. These dormitory style huts are cosy and provide good shelter form the elements, they are all located in spectacular locations, but they are also basic. The huts have water, cooking facilities, a mountain radio, and a bunk area with individual mattresses. There are no showers or electrical sockets for recharging.

For overnights in Mt Cook village we will stay in the New Zealand Alpine Club huts. These dormitory style huts have shared bathroom facilities.

Accomodation in Queenstown  before or after the trip is not included in trip costs. To organise accomodation before and after the course we recommend here you will find a wide range of accomodation depending on your preferred style and budget.

Daily trip logistics

Every day in the mountains is different with changing weather, snowpack, and access conditions. When you book your trip with Queenstown Mountain Guides we will discuss your goals for the trip and the general plan. When you meet with your guide on the first morning of your trip your guide will discuss with you the weather forecast and current conditions and make a final plan for the trip. It is best to be flexible so we can ensure that you will make the most of your time with us.

At the start of the trip we will fly into the mountains at the first possible opportunity.

On any poor weather days it is possible to learn skills inside the hut – for example crevasse rescue, navigation, weather theory, avalanche awareness.

On the final day of the trip we will aim to have you back in Queenstown by approximately 5.00pm.

Queenstown Mountain Guides uses aircraft to fly into the mountains and this enables us to bring a good supply of fresh food on our trips. Your guide will organise breakfast, lunch, and dinner for you when  you are in the mountains. Your guide will cook your meals on a basic mountain stove but you will impressed by what is possible!

Guide to participant ratios

The maximum guide to participant ratio that we operate at is 1 guide to 4 participants. For groups larger than 4 participants extra guides are needed.

Mt Cook Glacier Wilderness Hike
Exploring the Tasman Glacier
Walking on the Tasman Glacier
Flying into the Tasman Glacier at Mt Cook