A trip to New Zealand’s South Island wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Mount Cook National Park, home to Aoraki Mt Cook that soars to a height of 3724 metres. The Hermitage Hotel is perfect for those who would like to base themselves at the national park for a couple of days to fully explore the area.

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As my trip to Aoraki Mt Cook was during the peak travel season in December, I had booked my room over 6 months in advance. The drive to the hotel along Lake Pukaki offers magnificent views of the surroundings.

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Being the main accommodation within the national park, the Hermitage Hotel is world famous for its amazing views of Aoraki Mt Cook, and for the various activities that guests can engage in during their stay.

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The interior of the hotel resembled a cozy mountain cabin, but very much larger that’s all. I was thankful for making my reservation way in advance as the hotel seemed to be operating at almost full capacity.

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Most rooms provide an unobstructed view of Aoraki Mt Cook, including mine. The room interior was modestly furnished, and was very much to my liking. I wouldn’t expect the rooms to be overly extravagant in any case, since guests would most probably be out and about most of the time.

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There was a seating area just by the window, perfect for an afternoon tea while enjoying sweeping views of the surroundings.

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The bathroom was fairly basic but very decent in size.

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During my stay, I decided to explore as much as what the national park had to offer. I picked a bright and sunny day for a trip to the Tasman Glacier, which is New Zealand’s longest glacier. It was possible for us to come up and close with icebergs too.

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The Hooker Valley Day Walk is also a must during any visit to Aoraki Mt Cook. The well paved walkways take you through winding valleys and along flowing rivers with a guide to highlight the key features of Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. The walk is expected to proceed in almost all weather conditions.

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At night, you can also sign up for the Big Sky Stargazing, which includes a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre with an introductory presentation of the southern night sky under New Zealand’s first 360 degree digital Dome Planetarium theatre, before heading out to the 4367 square km Gold Status Aoraki MacKenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest in the world, for an unforgettable night under the stars.

You’ll also be spoilt for choice when dining at the Hermitage Hotel. I enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Panoramic Room with breathtaking views of Aoraki Mt Cook during sunset.

The buffet spread at the Alpine Restaurant was also really good in terms of taste and selection of dishes.

I highly recommend the Hermitage Hotel to anyone visiting Aoraki Mt Cook. It really is the perfect base from which you can explore the national park, while offering the best views of Aoraki Mt Cook. Remember to book way in advance during the peak travel periods!

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