Tip: Be Prepared -- If you're driving up to Mount Cook Village during winter, make sure you have antifreeze fluid in your car radiator.
There is a daily InterCity (tel. 09/623-1503) link between Mount Cook and Christchurch, Queenstown, and Timaru. The Cook Connection, Twizel (tel. 0800/266-526 in NZ; www.cookconnect.co.nz), offers daily trips from Lake Tekapo and Twizel to Mount Cook from October through May between 7:30am and 9pm. By car, Mount Cook is reached via State Highway 80 and great care should be taken on all roads in the area during autumn and winter when surfaces become icy and slippery. Twizel is 45 minutes from Mount Cook World Heritage Park and is the base for a number of tourism businesses operating in the Mount Cook area.
A T-intersection at the end of the highway marks the entrance to Mount Cook Village. Turn left and you'll pass Glencoe Lodge, a modern motor hotel, the youth hostel, Alpine Guides Mountain Shop, and finally the Aoraki-Mount Cook National Park Visitor Centre. Turn right at the intersection and you'll pass Mount Cook Chalets before reaching the peak-roofed, internationally famous Hermitage Hotel, which now includes a modest grocery store and post office.
The Aoraki-Mount Cook National Park Visitor Centre, 1 Larch Grove, Mount Cook Village (tel. 03/435-1186; fax 03/435-1080; www.doc.govt.nz), is open daily in summer from 8:30am to 6pm and in winter until 5pm (closed Dec 25). Department of Conservation officers can give you the latest information on weather, track, and road conditions. Trampers and mountaineers must check in and sign the intentions register before entering the park. Officers can also fill you in on high-altitude huts, hut passes, picnic grounds, and recommended walks in the area.
The Lake Pukaki Visitor Centre, State Highway 8, Pukaki (tel. 03/435-3280; fax 03/435-3283; www.mtcook.org.nz), is another good resource. Alpine Guides, Main Road, Mount Cook (tel. 03/435-1834; fax 03/435-1898; www.alpineguides.co.nz or www.heliskiing.co.nz), can also provide a wealth of information on alpine activities, schedules, and fees. For information on Mount Cook ski areas, connect to www.nzski.com and www.mtcooknz.com.