Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is situated in the South Island of New Zealand near the town of Twizel. Aoraki/Mount Cook village lies within the park. The area was formally gazetted as a national park in October 1953 and consists of reserves that were established as early as 1887 to protect the area's significant vegetation and landscape.
The park covers a little over 700 km². Glaciers cover 40% of the park area, notably the Tasman Glacier
on the slopes of Aoraki/Mount Cook
Of New Zealand's 20 peaks over 3,000 metres, all except Mount Aspiring lie in the park. These include New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook, at 3753 metres. Other prominent peaks include Mount Tasman, Mount Hicks, Mount Sefton, and Mount Elie de Beaumont. The mountains of the Southern Alps in general are young, less than ten million years old, and are still building. Uplift in the region of the national park is at the rate of 50 centimetres per century.
The park is also part of Te Wahipounamu South Westland World Heritage Site in recognition of its outstanding natural values.
Flora and fauna
Most of the park is situated above the tree line so that the plant life consists mainly of alpine plants such as the Mount Cook lily
, (Ranunculus lyalli), which is really the largest buttercup in the world, large mountain daisies and wild Spaniard or spear grass. Birdlife consists of species like the kea
, the only alpine parrot
and the well-camouflaged pipit
. Introduced chamois
, Himalayan tahr
and red deer
can be hunted.
The park is popular for tramping
. Department of Conservation
administer activities in the park. Popular species with hunters include red deer
and Himalayan tahr.