Kea Point Track in Mount Cook National Park
The Kea Point Track is one of the shorter walks in Mount Cook National Park that offers good views of Mount Sefton, Mueller Lake, and Mount Cook.
The Kea Point Track is one of the easiest trails you can do in Mount Cook National Park that offers nice mountain and lake views.
At the end of the trail, there is a platform where you can stand and enjoy views of Mount Sefton (3,157 m / 10,358 ft) in the northwest and of Mueller Lake and Mount Cook (3,754 m / 12,316 ft) in the northeast.
There are conflicting reports on how high Mount Cook actually is with some sources listing 3,724 m (12,218 ft) and the information panels in Mount Cook National Park listing 3,593 m (11,788 ft).
The same confusion exists with the height of Mount Sefton. Whatever the actual heights of Mount Cook and Mount Sefton are, they are both high enough to have snow on them year-round.
So whether you visit Mount Cook National Park in summer or winter does not matter because you are guaranteed to see snow on the mountains. However, Earth is getting warmer so the day will come when there will be no snow anymore on the mountains.
Because the Kea Point Track is a short trail, it is a good walk to do if you are short on time or if your fitness level is not up to par to do a more challenging walk like the Sealy Tarns Track or the Hooker Valley Track.
How to get to the Kea Point Track
The Kea Point Track is located in Mount Cook National Park on the South Island of New Zealand.
The quickest way to get to Mount Cook National Park is to fly to Queenstown and then drive to Mount Cook National Park. This driving journey would take approximately 3 hours and note that it would also have you go through Lindis Pass, which may or may not be impassible in winter.
Another option would be to fly to either Dunedin or Christchurch. The drive from Dunedin would last about 3 hours and 45 minutes, while it would take about 4 hours to drive from Christchurch to Mount Cook National Park via Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki.
Once you reach Mount Cook National Park, follow Hooker Valley Road to one of the several parking lots at the end of the road near the start of the walk.
You could also start the walk from Mount Cook Village, but to save time, the walk described here starts at the end of Hooker Valley Road.
The Kea Point Track walk in Mount Cook National Park
There is a sign near the parking lot at the end of Hooker Valley Road that indicates that it takes about 30 minutes to reach Kea Point. Note that this time indication is a one-way time indication and not a return time like the one for Sealy Tarns (3.5 hours).
The trail is a gravel trail that is very rocky. It starts out with small rocks at first and becomes rougher the further you go so wear good shoes. The trail goes through subalpine grass.
About 7 minutes or 0.5 km (0.3 mi) after starting the walk, you will reach the junction of the Kea Point Track and a trail that leads back to Mount Cook Village. Go right at this junction.
It should take you another 5 minutes or 0.25 km (0.16 mi) to reach a second junction. At this junction you can go left on the Sealy Tarns Track or right to continue going to Kea Point.
Go right at this junction [Photo: Sign at the junction of Kea Point Track and Sealy Tarns Track in Mount Cook National Park (61 KB)].
The first part of the Kea Point Track is pretty flat but once you have passed the second junction, it starts to climb. The climb does not last long, though. However, the trail will soon start to climb again as you reach the last part of the trail. You can also start to get views of Mount Cook at this point.
Soon you should see a sign for Kea Point and then reach a wooden viewing platform about 23 minutes after starting the walk[Photo: View of Mount Sefton at the end of Kea Point Track (49 KB)].
There are information panels on and near the platform where you can see the names of the different peaks in the area.
Basic info for the Kea Point Track walk
|Trail length:||3 km (1.9 mi) return from the end of Hooker Valley Road.|
|Walking time:||The Department of Conservation lists 1 hour as the total time to walk this track and return with an extra hour if you are starting from Mount Cook Village. This time should be comfortable enough to complete the walk because it took me 45 minutes to do this walk starting from the end of Hooker Valley Road and back.|
|Difficulty:||Easy to moderate|
|Trail type:||The trail is a gravel trail that has large and sharp rocks in some areas.|
|Trail condition:||Good but rough in some areas so wear good hiking shoes.|
|Fitness level:||Low to moderate. The trail climbs but not excessively. The last part to get to the lookout might be a bit challenging due to a slight ascent, but the uphill walk does not last very long.|
|Best time to walk:||You can do this walk any time of the year, but the sun may be in a better position to see Mount Cook during summer. Morning hours are good for views of Mount Sefton and afternoon hours for views of Mount Cook and Mueller Lake.|
|What you’ll see:||Mount Sefton, Mueller Lake, Mount Cook, and other mountains.|
The trail you’ll have to follow approximately to reach the lookout is indicated with a red dashed line on this topographic map of the Kea Point Track (164 KB) [This work is based on/includes LINZ’s data which is licensed by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license].
Video of the Kea Point Track walk near Mount Cook
This 3-minute video gives you an impression of what to expect on this scenic walk on the Kea Point Track that leads to a lookout that offers views of Mount Sefton, Mueller Lake, and Mount Cook in Mount Cook National Park on the South Island of New Zealand.
This article falls under Day Walks.
Note: Walking tracks and trails can be changed or get closed. The information presented here was accurate when it was gathered.