Peter Jackson was right in choosing the Mackenzie region for many scenes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy! Nestled in the heart of the sparsely populated South Island, it indeed offers a variety of impressive landscapes: turquoise lakes and snow-capped peaks, glaciers and alpine valleys, not to forget its high agricultural arid plains.
Mackenzie encompasses one of the most beautiful parts of the Southern Alps and is home to several peaks over 3000 meters above sea level, including the country's highest point: Aoraki / Mt Cook which rises to 3,274 meters. Born from the subduction of the Pacific and Australian plates, this mountain range continues to culminate every year.
For hiking lovers, this region is a must. Mt Cook village perfectly fits the base camp role in discovering the many treks in the area. The road leading to it is one of the most scenic in the country, with the turquoise of Lake Pukaiki and the peaks of the national park in the background. From a hiking perspective, a special mention to Mueller Hut which will allow you, after a determined effort, to admire a breathtaking panorama. The Hooker Valley Track, much less engaged, will offer you at the end of a beautiful ride a magnificent view at the foot of the highest peak in the country. Here you can also kayak among the icebergs of the Tasman glacial lake, a unique experience. Finally, to relax after a long and tiring day, a stop in the hot springs of Tekapo or Omarama in the South for more discretion.
If hiking is not your priority, we advise you to stay in Tekapo or Twizel, less isolated than the village of Mt Cook. The region is one of the first reserves of starry skies as distinguished by Unesco. We strongly encourage you to take this golden opportunity during your stay to admire the celestial vault with a local guide. We can even book an astrophotography course for you!
Our favourite is the overview of the region, which will allow you to observe the 3 Fox, Franz Joseph and Tasman glaciers (the largest in the country) and approach the summit of Aoraki / Mt Cook. It is very often one of the best memories of our travellers!
Tekapo is finally the starting point for the famous Alps To Ocean trail that I invite you to discover in our cycling section.
A 30-minute drive from Twizel, you will find the Lake Ohau Lodge located on the shores of the lake of the same name. This accommodation with a very 'kiwi' atmosphere will allow you to discover the unfrequented region. In winter you can even ski there far from the frequented ski areas of the Queenstown / Wanaka region.
Finally, if you are looking for nature at all costs in exceptional housing conditions, we can only encourage you to try The Lindis experience south of Mackenzie. Isolated in the Ahuriri Valley, this uniquely designed accommodation blends in perfectly with the landscape. An ideal place to relax in total immersion in a preserved environment.
Mackenzie is, therefore, a region where nature predominates and which can adapt to all types of travellers. We will be happy to include it in your tailor-made itinerary.
The organisation by OUAT was excellent, communication was brilliant, facilities on the Milford Track were of a high standard and Hippo Lodge in Queenstown...
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