Summer stays to get away: Hooker Hut

2nd December 2021|3min

If you are thinking about embarking on your first overnight journey with your family, then the Hooker Hut is an absolute must do.

The 90-minute walk to the Hooker Hut follows the Hooker Valley Track and crosses two incredible swing bridges and has views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mueller Lake.  If you’re lucky you can even hear avalanches or spot a few kea (New Zealand’s native mountain parrot).

A 2021 trip reflection by Jen and her family from Backyard Travel Family


As a family of five, with three children (8,6,3) it's important to choose a track that is suitable for the kid's abilities.  We use the Plan My Walk app to help filter the walks by duration, making the Hooker Valley Track a perfect option at around 3 hours return.  The app also has up to date weather conditions for the trail we are walking, so we always check Plan My Walk before heading off.

Hooker Hut with views of Aoraki Mt Cook

Hooker Hut with views of Aoraki Mt Cook

The Hooker Hut is the oldest hut in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park but has recently been restored and relocated making it more accessible from the Hooker Valley Track. The two-room building has eight beds, a cosy fire and a gas stove for everyone to use. This makes it easily accessible as the only things you need to bring are pots/pans and a lighter for the gas.  Outside you will find a detached toilet which is squeaky clean and a woodshed full of dry wood.

If you’ve never tramped into Aotearoa’s alpine regions before, there are a few things that you need to know.  Although the track is flat and it's an easy trail, Mt Cook Village is still about 750m above sea level.  In alpine environments like this, the weather is extremely volatile and can change quickly.  In fact, we walked in on an 18C day in a wee bit of cloud, and left with four layers, warm hats walking in gale force winds and rain.  This means you have to be extremely well prepared, no matter the weather.

Backyard Travel Family kids walk the Hooker Valley Track

Backyard Travel Family kids walk the Hooker Valley Track

The Plan My Walk app is a great starting place to get organised.  Here you can check the weather conditions and upcoming forecasts, get a great list of gear you might need and can create a trip plan.  It’s always a great idea to let someone know (neighbour, friend, grandparents) where you are going and when you expect to be back.  The app can do all of this for you so it’s a one-stop shop.

Some things we love about this overnight walk

  • It’s a great starting point for first time trampers. If you don’t have tramping boots, then sports shoes are fine. You don’t need your own cooker and if you don’t have speciality tramping pots, just bring some smaller ones from home to use. With a short walk such as this, you don’t need to have ultralight gear.
  • After you have dropped off your gear at the hut you can continue down to the Hooker Lake to explore. In the winter there are icebergs and the lake partially freezes over.
  • Stargazing in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park is quite simply unbelievable. On clear nights the stars are your own personal fairy lights.
  • If you’re worried about sharing the hut with strangers, bring another family and book the place out together. I know all parents worry about their little ones waking up others so this is a fun way to get them used to shared huts.
  • The landscape is just beautiful. Don’t forget your cameras as the photos from this trip and what family memories are made of.

If you're looking for a place to go or where to start, check out our resources
  • Plan My Walk app | Packed with options to explore in your region and build a plan
  • Day Walking | Section of our website to kickstart your thinking for walks


If you're heading out this summer, let us know!