Hike #9: Ball hut Route (Mount Cook)

by | May 22, 2019 | New Zealand

Walk to Ball Hut, the scenic mountain hut facing Mount Cook, while enjoying breathtaking views of the Tasman Glacier and surrounding peaks.

About the Hike

The first 5 km section of the Mount Cook hike follows a historic route, now a trail for all-terrain vehicles. It opens on spectacular views after the end of the vehicle track, where the road becomes more difficult.

The moraine wall, formed by the glacier in this area, is very unstable and needs to be negotiated with caution. You will have to move carefully around collapsed areas at different stages of the course. Indeed, you will cross many landslides and you will sometimes have to climb with your hands. The view for Mount Cook is worth it.

Ball Hut is near the historic site of the first Ball Hut and offers superb views of the Tasman Glacier and surrounding peaks including Mount Cook. You can then stay in the small refuge with only 4 beds. It is not necessary to book but it is then first come, first served.


Level: Intermediate to advance because unstable and technical course on its last part.

Duration: 6-8 hours return.

Required equipment: Hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat / cap, sweater, camping gear and what to eat if you stay at the shelter.

In conclusion, the Ball Hut Route is a demanding hike to Mount Cook and skirting the Tasman Glacier but whose grandiose landscapes and out of the ordinary are well worth the effort. Not requiring much preparation but especially caution you can do it in a day or two if you want to sleep in the shelter. A must-see of New Zealand.


The trail starts at the end of Tasman Valley Road, near the village of Aoraki / Mount Cook. To get there, you go through Lake Tekapo which deserves an article in its own right.