Sealy Tarns, Hooker Valley, & Tasman Glacier: Here Is Sarah’s Perfect Weekend Itinerary For Mt Cook
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21st Jun | 3 min read

Sarah has always had a passion for travelling. She grew up in Ireland but is now living in New Zealand where she tries to get out and explore as much as she can. She’s experienced several trips around the South Island and recently did a trip to Mount Cook, she shares her itinerary with us in this post. For more of Sarah’s adventures, you can follow her on Instagram and TikTok. You can also connect with Sarah on GAFFL

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Why I Decided To Do This Trip

I’ve always loved travelling and growing up in Ireland made it easy to explore Europe as it was so affordable for flights and accommodation. When we decided to stay in New Zealand long term, I quickly realised how expensive it was to travel to other countries from here. So instead of traveling outside of New Zealand, I decided to start adventuring and make the most of my new backyard. 

That’s how I grew to love the outdoors and found myself looking for the next track to explore or a new hill to climb every weekend. I have made quite a few trips around the South Island and there’s still more to explore. I’ve been inspired by being here in New Zealand surrounded by beautiful scenery and photos of places on my ‘to do’ list.

Planning For Mt Cook

As we now live and work in NZ a lot of our trips are last minute due to work commitments. 

This trip to Mt. Cook was planned a few weeks in advance as we had a long weekend coming up. A long weekend is plenty of time to do Sealy Tarns which was our main objective for this trip. 

We booked into a cute little Airbnb in Twizel and drove our own car down from Christchurch. 

We packed mostly food & hiking equipment and cameras 😊 

Itinerary For The Weekend

Christchurch- Geraldine 

We love to Stop in Geraldine for a stretch and wander about.

Geraldine- Fairlie

Got to stop there to see the Alpacas and get a pie at Fairlie Bakehaus.

Fairlie- Tekapo

Stop off to wander about the lake, spot some rabbits and have a walk up to the observatory.

Tekapo- Twizel

Check into accommodation, go for a walk at a nearby track. 

Have some food and an early night.

Mt. Cook

Sealy tarns track 


Hooker Valley track 


Tasman Glacier track 

Drive about looking for waterfalls

We may have visited the Clay Cliffs in Omarama on this trip too

Drive home to Christchurch the next day, taking some stops along lake Pukaki/ Salmon farm and then Tekapo, Fairlie, Geraldine again to break up the long drive.

Travel Costs

This one was not too bad as we just needed petrol and accommodation. As a lot of our interests are outdoors, like hiking etc, there’s an initial cost for backpacks and boots but if you invest in good quality and don’t mind roughing it a bit, like camping in summer then it is affordable. I do miss staying in fancy hotels in Europe for next to nothing though on occasion. 

Can’t Miss Food Items

South Island in general:

Christchurch: Brunch at Hello Sunday, coffee at C4, Inati for fine dining, Pot Sticker for casual dinner. 

Fairlie: pies at Fairlie Bakehouse

Queenstown: Ferg burger, Fat badger pizza. 

Hokitika: Fat pipi pizza

Nelson: Toad hall in Motueka is funky 😊 Morri St for Brunch, and Cod and Lobster for fancy dinner.

On this trip it was the Fairlie Bakehouse pies, my fave is the pork belly.  

Favourite Memory From The Trip

Standing at the edge of the cliff on the Sealy Tarns track staring up at Mt.cook. It was a beautiful place for a picnic after walking up 2200 steps.

Other Hikes & Sights You Won't Want To Miss!

If you make a trip to Mt Cook you need to make sure to do the hikes listed in the itinerary above, Sealey Tarns, Hooker valley & Tasman Glacier.

If you have more time you can go to Tekapo and walk from the village up to the observatory.

Also you can make a stop in Geraldine, Peel forest has some wonderful walks and waterfalls.

Advice For Others Doing This Trip

If you’re a New Zealander take the time to explore your beautiful country, it has so much to offer. 

Pack your tent and do your groceries in Christchurch to keep costs down.

Picnics are a really great and affordable way to enjoy the outdoors with minimal effort! 

If you have time stop along the journey to explore the little towns! They are the best!

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