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Mount Cook National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in New Zealand. It’s home to some of the most amazing things to do in New Zealand ranging from stunning hikes, breathtaking viewpoints, and a starry night sky like you wouldn’t believe!
In all honesty, the ONLY way to truly enjoy Mount Cook is to stay in Mount Cook Village for a night or two! By spending the night in a hotel in Mount Cook Village you’ll not only get more time to explore the park but you’ll be able to see this stunning place at every time of the day!
Luckily there are a few great accommodation options in Mount Cook National Park and plenty just outside the park in case it’s booked out (which is common).
But what are they and where can I stay if Mount Cook Village is completely booked?
Well, in this post I’m going to let you know exactly where the stay in Mount Cook, tell you about the different Mount Cook accommodation options and show you a few other towns where you can also stay if Mount Cook is fully booked!
Mount Cook Village – Mt Cook Accommodation
The best place to stay in Mount Cook National Park, and well, pretty much the only place to stay is in Mount Cook Village. By staying in Mount Cook Village you are literally 5 minutes from many of the best things to do in Mount Cook. These include hiking the Hooker Valley Track and Mueller Hut.
Accommodation in the Mount Cook Village is limited, in fact, there are only 7 accommodation options. They include 5 hotels, 1 hostel, and 1 DOC (Department of Conservation) campground.
Mount Cook Village is also home to a museum, café, a few restaurants, an airport, visitor center, rental shop (Alpine Guides), and museum. In Mount Cook Village you get phone reception whereas elsewhere in the park, you get very limited service.
Related Read: Heading to Queenstown at some point during your trip to New Zealand? Here is where you can stay in Queenstown.
Accommodations in Mount Cook Village
1. White Horse Hill Campground
The White Horse Hill campground is the cheapest place to stay in Mount Cook. The campground caters to both campervans, cars, and tents. There are 60 campsites available for tents and around the same for campervans. Since it’s run by the DOC this campground has very basic facilities but does have flush toilets, running water (for drinking), and a cooking shelter.
The campground is very conveniently located right at the start of the Hooker Valley Track, Sealy Tarns Trail, as well as the Mueller Glacier Lookout trail, and the Mueller Hut trail. However, it is a 5-minute drive from Mount Cook Village.
Prices are $15 for adults, $7.50 for children (5 – 17), and free for children 4 and under.
The White Horse Hill campground cannot be booked in advance and is on a first come first serve basis. So, be sure a have a backup plan if you’re visiting in the summer!
This is the only camping and motorhome spot in Mount Cook National Park. Run by the DOC, it’s not fancy but it’s the best-located place to stay for those looking to hike in the park.
2. YHA Hostel – CLOSED
The YHA in Mount Cook is now closed. Unfortunately, this means budget travelers will either need to book a more expensive hotel or look for other options such as Twizel. Twizel is the closest town to Mount Cook and home to budget hotels.
YHA Mount Cook
CLOSED as of 2022. Unfortunately, the YHA is currently closed. We hope another hostel opens in Mount Cook soon, but at this time the closest hostel is located in Lake Tekapo.
3. The Hermitage Hotel Mount Cook
The Hermitage is easily one of the best places to stay in Mount Cook especially if you’re after stunning mountain views. The hotel has an onsite cocktail bar (with amazing views), café, and restaurant. All rooms come with a private bathroom and some even with a hot tub!
They serve a buffet breakfast which can be included in the room rate as well as serving lunch and dinner. They offer laundry service and even babysitting if you’re wanting a more romantic moment away from the kids.
Rooms here start at around $250 NZD per night, however, for their best rooms expect to pay around $500 NZD.
The Hermitage is the largest hotel in the park and arguably the most luxurious. If your budget is high or you’re after something more romantic it’s a great choice.
4. Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Lodge
The Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Lodge is a great mid-budget hotel in Mount Cook Village. The rooms aren’t the most luxurious but the views are good and they also have a beautiful shared kitchen for guests. They have lovely common rooms including a large dining area with breathtaking views.
I highly recommend this hotel for families, especially those traveling in a group of 4. The reason? Well, their rooms start at only $205 NZD (up to $280) but for $210 NZD you can get a quadruple room perfect for a family or group of friends!
This hotel is the best value hotel for families in the park. With larger rooms to fit up to 4 people, it’s great value, especially for what you get!
5. Aoraki Court Hotel
The Aoraki Court Hotel is a chalet-style hotel that offers free parking for each room. All of the rooms are very modern and furnished well. They have their own private patio as well as mountain views and some basic cooking facilities.
The rooms available start at $380 NZD for a studio with a kitchen and continue up to around $565 for a two-bedroom apartment! Although a little bit more expensive, the rooms do live up to expectations and are very large, spacious, and comfortable.
This hotel is very modern and centrally located. Its rooms have amazing views and offer a lot of privacy. A great choice for couples or families!
6. Aoraki Alpine Chalet
The Aoraki Alpine Chalet consists of only one chalet built to hold large groups of up to 8 people. The chalet has 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, bbq, flat screen tv, a well-equipped kitchen, and a microwave. Although a little old it’s the perfect place for larger groups wanting a private visit to Mount Cook.
This chalet costs $335 NZD per night for 8 people. Not a bad price when divided up between the group! A minimum of 2 nights is required.
For large groups, this is the best place to stay in Mount Cook. It sleeps up to 8 people, has a full kitchen and 3 bedrooms. Divided up it’s great value per person per night!
7. Mt Cook Lodge and Motel
The Mt Cook Lodge and Motel is one of the best-rated hotels in Mount Cook Village. This small but cute motel has both basic rooms and some luxurious rooms and apartments as well as dorm-style accommodation. A dorm bed here costs $47 NZD a night and privates range from $250 to $400.
Its location is right in the village and within walking distance of the discovery center, museum, and café. They offer free parking on-site and the hotel has magnificent views of Mount Cook National Park.
The Mt Cook Lodge is rather new to the park but it’s already the most highly rated on Booking.com. It has beautiful rooms and great views – what more could you want for a visit to Mount Cook National Park!
Other Accommodations Near Mount Cook Village
As I’ve mentioned above, Mount Cook Village is almost always fully booked throughout the summer hiking season. For this reason, if you’ve left it a little late to book you’re going to need a plan B. Luckily though, there are three towns close by that although not as convenient, still provide a great place to base yourself as you explore this magical area.
Twizel is a small and rather unknown town just outside of Mount Cook National Park. It’s only a 45-minute drive to Mount Cook and accommodation here is much cheaper than in the park. In my opinion, it’s the second-best option if being close to the park is what matters most (after Mount Cook Village).
With that said, there’s simply not much going on in Twizel. And aside from being close to Mount Cook, there are no real major tourist attractions in the town. There are some pretty spectacular views just outside of Twizel as the mountains do sit just behind the town.
If you plan on spending most of your time in Mount Cook National Park then staying in Twizel is a good option. However, if a visit to Mount Cook is just a short trip for you then consider the option below.
- Lake Ruataniwha Holiday Park – For around $100 NZD a night this holiday park in Twizel is the most affordable option that you will find pretty much anywhere in the area. Even though it’s a 45-minute drive to Mount Cook it is only a 2-minute walk to the gorgeous Lake Ruataniwha. Note, no matter which size cabin you book all facilities here are shared.
- Mountain Chalets Motel – Simple and small there is nothing “special” about these motels but they are clean and private. You can book a studio for $140 NZD or different size chalets for upwards of $355 NDZ depending on how many people you have in your group. They are a close drive to Ben Ohau Golf Course, Lake Ruatanhiwha, and Lake Tekapo.
Lake Tekapo is another very popular place to visit on New Zealand’s South Island. This small town is situated on the edge of Lake Tekapo – arguably New Zealand’s most beautiful lake. From Mount Cook Village it takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes to drive to Lake Tekapo.
Although further than Twizel, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Lake Tekapo such as swimming in the lake, wandering the lupins (in season), visiting the Church of the Good Shepard, and going stargazing. Overall, Lake Tekapo is just a stunning place to stay!
The issue with Lake Tekapo is that it’s just as popular as Mount Cook Village and in my opinion a stop on its own. So if you’ve left it too late Tekapo may also be booked up and if you haven’t, well, make it a stop on your New Zealand road trip!
- Lake Tekapo Village Motel – Located in the middle of town right on the lake. A room here starts at $209 NZD and many of the rooms have lake views through the large windows and all spaces have a kitchen. There are also one and two-bedroom suites and a penthouse if you are looking for a bit more space and luxury.
- Alpine Lodges – This vacation home is a private lodge with a terrace that you will get all to yourself. Priced around $290 to start for two people in a 2 bedroom. They can hold up to 4 people for $450/night. Each lodge is modern and spacious with a fireplace and a deep bathtub. Super great deal and value for the location and amenities!
The last option that’s only just over an hour’s drive from Mount Cook Village is the small town of Omarama. In all honesty, I haven’t spent much time in Omarama and usually only stop in for fuel, however, it is actually slightly closer to Mount Cook than Lake Tekapo and there are few things to do in town you might find interesting.
Accommodation in Omarama is cheap too and there are plenty of great options that usually don’t book up too far in advance. With that said, the best places will, so be sure to book asap!
One of the biggest attractions in town is the Omarama Hot Tubs. Imagine having a private bath surrounded by nature and looking out at the beautiful Southern Alps! Well, that’s what you can expect there!
Another popular thing to do is to visit the Omarama Clay Cliffs. This stunning rock formation is well worth a quick visit on your road trip!
- Omarama TOP10 Holiday Park – The TOP10 Holiday parks are a great affordable chain you’ll find throughout New Zealand, here a standard cabin runs for $96 NZD a night. One thing guests seem to love is the warm and high pressured showers and cozy warm rooms and the on-site laundry room. The property is on a huge 10-acre property where you can grill or rent go-karts. Just a 5-minute walk to the Omarama hot tubs.
- BigSky Bed and Breakfast – The most high-end option in Omarama is BigSky B&B! It’s modern and clean in a quiet location. There is a communal garden and hammock and a tennis court. Plus, the breakfast is made fresh every morning. For a queen bed, you can expect to pay $228 NZD
Related Read: We have gone through plenty of experiences before we learned and then could share how we scored a cheap campervan rental in New Zealand!
Freedom Camping in Mount Cook
Unfortunately, Mount Cook National Park is not one of those places. In fact, you cannot sleep anywhere on the road to Mount Cook from the main highway or around the village.
However, you can camp just outside the park almost anywhere you want except in the township of Twizel and Lake Tekapo (there is a map in Lake Tekapo showing where you cannot freedom camp). So, if you’re planning on freedom camping don’t stress. There are places within a 50-minute drive of the park.
There are a few other no-go zones but you can read all about them here on the Mackenzie District website.
Why Stay in Mount Cook National Park
If you haven’t already been to New Zealand then you may not know just how beautiful Mount Cook National Park really is. Visiting isn’t just about what you do because just one look out of your hotel room and the views are sure to take your breath away!
By staying in the park you can be on the hiking trails before they get busy (believe me they do) and also have a much more relaxing time in this quiet town. In my opinion, a night or two in Mount Cook National Park is one of the best things to do in New Zealand by far!
Don’t miss this opportunity and book your accommodation now so you don’t miss out!
Thanks for reading!
We’ve hoped that you have found this guide on where to stay in and around Mount Cook National Park helpful! As you can see, there is no need to stress about where to stay. Even if you are reading this closer to your travel dates there are some alternatives even if they aren’t quite as convenient.
If you want to keep reading we have tons of other resources on our New Zealand page or check out some of these specific blogs below!