New Zealand has some of the most beautiful and accessible peaks in the world with some playing starring roles in blockbuster movies and others standing guard over some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
1. Mount Taranaki
Mount Taranaki is impossible to miss; the perfect volcanic cone stands alone in the Egmont National Park in the Taranaki region on the North Island. Recently ranked the second best region in the world in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017, Mt Taranaki is the jewel in the Taranaki skyline. One of the region’s best kept secrets is the Pouakai Crossing, taking walkers into the Egmont National Park and circumnavigating the stunning mountain.
2. Aoraki – Mt Cook
Aoraki Mount Cook is New Zealand’s highest peak and found in the rugged Southern Alps on the South Island. Standing at 3,724 metres (12,218 feet) Mt Cook is a four hour drive inland from Christchurch and is situated in the middle of an International Dark Sky Reserve, known for some of the clearest night skies in the world. Mt Cook overlooks Lake Pukaki in the Mackenzie Basin, part of the Canterbury region of New Zealand. The best way to get up close to the peak is with Air Safaris who fly from nearby Tekapo, Franz Josef and Glentanner.
3. Tongariro National Park
The Tongariro National Park is a UNESCO cultural and natural World Heritage site and home to three mighty mountains. Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongaririo all call the park home. The best way to see all three is to complete the world-famous day walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing through the volcanic landscape in the central North Island. The Tongariro National Park is the site of Mordor and Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy so don’t forget your Middle Earth guide book.
4. Mount Aspiring
New Zealand’s highest mountain outside of the Mount Cook region, Mount Aspiring (3,033m or 9,951 ft), is part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site. Mt Aspiring National Park is best accessed from Wanaka, a small lake side resort town just one hour from Queenstown on the South Island. A scenic flight with Aspiring Helicopters will not only show off the mountain but the incredible scenery across the entire World Heritage Site.
5. Mitre Peak
Bursting from the tranquil waters of the famous Milford Sound, Mitre Peak towers over tourists who come to experience one of the most spectacular places on earth. Rudyard Kipling famously dubbed Milford Sound the eighth wonder of the world and Mitre Peak’s impressive stature adds to the drama of the landscape. There are multiple boat cruises to choose from for visitors to Milford Sound including overnight adventures and all offer awesome views of the iconic peak.