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Mueller Hut Route

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

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Mueller Hut Route

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  • Mount Sefton (3,151 m) viewed from the Mueller Hut Trail near the parking area.- Mueller Hut Route
  • The junction of the Mueller Hut Trail and the spur to Kea Point.- Mueller Hut Route
  • Mount Sefton (3,151 m) dominates the view in the lowlands. Mount Cook (3,724 m) can be seen peeking over the moraine at the right of the picture.- Mueller Hut Route
  • Mueller Lake provides a gorgeous foreground to Mount Cook (3,724 m) in the distance.- Mueller Hut Route
  • From a higher vantage point, both Mueller and Hooker lakes can be seen.- Mueller Hut Route
  • The same viewpoint looking the other direction. Mount Cook Village and the Hooker River are easily discernible.- Mueller Hut Route
  • A couple of the thousands of steps on the way up to Sealy Tarns.- Mueller Hut Route
  • Breathtaking views along the Mueller Hut route.- Mueller Hut Route
  • The picnic area at Sealy Tarns. Mount Sefton dominates the view here.- Mueller Hut Route
  • Mount Cook (3,724 m) and Hooker Lake, viewed from Sealy Tarns. The Hooker Valley Track is visible from here.- Mueller Hut Route
  • Hikers enjoying the view from Sealy Tarns.- Mueller Hut Route
  • A view of Sealy Tarns looking toward Mount Cook Village (at center-left).- Mueller Hut Route
  • Incredible views along the Muller Hut route.- Mueller Hut Route
  • A hiker navigating the scrambling section of the Mueller Hut route.- Mueller Hut Route
  • The final stretch to Mueller Hut (center). Mount Ollivier (1,933 m) is the landform behind Mueller Hut.- Mueller Hut Route
  • A hiker looking at Mount Sefton (3,151 m) from the Mueller Hut route.- Mueller Hut Route
  • Mount Cook (3,724 m) as viewed from Mueller Hut.- Mueller Hut Route
  • Mueller Hut, with Mount Sefton and Mount Cook as a spectacular background.- Mueller Hut Route
  • The entire Hooker Valley Track can be viewed from the summit of Mount Ollivier.- Mueller Hut Route
  • Lake Pukaki is also viewable from the summit of Mount Ollivier.- Mueller Hut Route
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Classic New Zealand day hike. Mesmerizing views throughout. Within walking distance from Mount Cook Village.
Cons: 
Prone to cloud cover and bad weather. Very far from any major towns. Not family friendly.
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Region:
Other,
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,805.77 ft (1,160.00 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
6.52 mi (10.50 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,526.25 ft (770.00 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Mueller Hut is a shelter established near the summit of Mount Ollivier, built high above Mount Cook Village in the heart of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. While Mueller Hut is the destination for most hikers who take on this trek, others may want to go only halfway up the track to the Sealy Tarns. Additional spurs to Kea Point and a scramble to the summit of Mount Ollivier itself are also available from the Mueller Hut track, and are all very popular.

The trek to Mueller Hut has two very distinct segments. Starting 2 kilometers north of Mount Cook Village at the White Horse Hill Campground and trailhead, the same trailhead as Hooker Valley Track, the trek begins relatively gently before entering thick subalpine forest and climbing virtually straight up the mountainside. There are roughly 2,200 stairsteps on the first section of the trek to the Mueller Hut that ascend into the thinning forest and eventually to the Sealy Tarns, which is essentially the halfway point of the hike both in terms of distance and altitude.

From Sealy Tarns the well-defined trail turns into a scramble up the remaining half of the mountain. Some route finding is needed in this section: Look for orange posts to guide you and your party up the mountain. Most of this hike has a relatively gradual incline, and the routes are well maintained, but there are a few areas requiring both hands and legs. Eventually the trail reaches the ridge of the mountains at a viewpoint prone to extremely strong winds, and then it proceeds across a few snowfields to Mueller Hut. Be sure to look and listen for glacial calves and landslides across the large canyon to the east!

Mueller Hut is a great lunch spot for day hikers, who account for the vast majority of the hikers on the hike. Vault toilets and fresh water can be found at the hut and are available for use for all travelers. Mueller Hut has 28 bunk beds for overnight stays; spaces are limited and must be booked at the Department of Conservation's website. For those wishing to summit Mount Ollivier, route finding and intermediate bouldering abilities are essential. It is wise for most hikers to leave their gear at Mueller Hut due to the exposure and very rocky nature of the ascent. The ascent is short in distance, and it should not take more than an hour round trip.

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(3 within a 30 mile radius)

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