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Almost all of the accommodations in Mount Cook Village are owned by the same company, so you'll have minimal bargaining power, but call before you arrive as there are daily specials available, especially at the very ecofriendly Hermitage Hotel, Motels & Chalets, Terrace Road (tel. 0800/686-800 in NZ, or 03/435-1809; www.hermitage.co.nz). This old-faithful complex is an uneven mix of older motel units, chalets, and new and old hotel rooms, but recent renovations have made it more cohesive; and the on-site restaurants have greatly improved. The hotel has rates of NZ$130 to NZ$560; motel rooms are NZ$150 to NZ$255; and chalets are NZ$140 to NZ$225 -- but don't forget those specials. And this is one hotel where I would be prepared to spend extra for views, because they are simply breathtaking. In addition, the hotel also takes part in local native planting programs and a gene conservation program for native flora in the area.

Aoraki/Mount Cook Alpine Lodge, 101 Bowen Dr., Mount Cook (tel. 0800/680-680 in NZ, or 03/435-1860; www.aorakialpinelodge.co.nz), is a much-needed new, independent addition to the village accommodations scene. Its 16 rooms are much more reasonably priced at NZ$159 to NZ$225.

The Mount Cook YHA Hostel, Bowen Drive and Kitchener Avenue (tel. 0800/278-299 in NZ, or 03/435-1820; www.yha.co.nz), has 70 beds in 17 rooms, including six twins and two doubles. The cost is NZ$26 per dorm bed, NZ$70 for a twin or a double. It has the best shop in the village, plus a sauna, video library, TV lounge, luggage lockers, and a ski drying room. Reservations are essential from November to April.

Camping and caravanning are permitted in Mount Cook National Park at designated sites; water and toilets are available. If you use these facilities, remember that fires are prohibited within park boundaries. Check with the park visitor center for locations and conditions. Hikers and mountaineers have the use of 12 huts in the park, which have bunks and emergency radios. Only the Mueller Hut is within easy reach of the casual tramper. The others are at high altitudes and you need to be an experienced expert climber to reach them. The fee for overnight use of the huts is NZ$25 to NZ$30 per person, and arrangements must be made at the National Park Visitor Centre.

Rather than staying in Mount Cook Village itself, you might prefer to spend the night in one of the surrounding towns: Twizel, Fairlie, Tekapo, Omarama, and Kurow are all within a 2-hour drive and have motels, B&Bs, and homestays aplenty. Best among them is Peppers Bluewater Resort, State Highway 8, Tekapo (tel. 0800/680-570; www.peppers.co.nz/bluewater), which offers 142 very reasonably priced, brand-new rooms and villas, from NZ$237 to NZ$394. And if you stay in Tekapo, don't miss a visit to the new Alpine Springs Spa & Winter Park, 150 Lakeside Dr., Tekapo (tel. 0800/235-3823 in NZ; www.winterpark.co.nz), which features delicious hot pools, a day spa, an ice rink, snow tubing, and curling. They have skates for hire. Admission to the hot pools area is NZ$16 for adults, NZ$9 for children, and NZ$49 for a family.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.