Lake Pukaki & Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Lake Pukaki, Aoraki and Mount Cook National Park are among the most breathtaking destinations in New Zealand. The largest of three alpine lakes in the Mackenzie Basin on the South Island of New Zealand, Lake Pukaki is world-famous for its turquoise blue waters. This turquoise blue color is caused by glacial flour (fine silt from glacial erosion) that does not settle quickly to the bottom. From Lake Pukaki also offers a spectacular view of Mount Cook in the background.

Driving north along highway 80 leads to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the home of Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand and several glaciers including the Tasman, Malte Brun, Elie de Beaumont, Sefton and La Perouse glaciers. According to Ngāi Tahu legend, the Sky Father Rakinui had four sons, one of whom was Aoraki. It is believed that the four brothers were once on a sea voyage when their canoe overturned, forcing them to stand up on top of their canoe. However, the south wind was so freezing cold that they immediately turned to stone. The legend goes that the canoe became the South Island, and the frozen Aoraki and his brothers became the peaks of the Southern Alps. Visitors can enjoy multiple activities in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park from hiking and trekking to glacier viewing and skiing, including heli-skiing.


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