Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park NZ

Really spectacular views the whole way on this steep alpine walk to Sealy Tarns and beyond, in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

A really spectacular (and steep) alpine walk in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park to two excellent vantage points: first to the attractive Sealy Tarns at 1300m, and then for the energetic continue on up the hill towards Mueller Hut onto a spur at about 1740m of elevation. There are views of Mt Sefton (3151m), NZ’s highest peak Aoraki/Mt Cook (3755m), various glaciers and glacier lakes, and the Hooker River Valley 1000m below. Highly recommended.

Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Sophia watches a handglider from a vantage point at 1740m of elevation above Sealy Tarns.

The climbing is steep but if you like that kind of thing then the only problem will be the long stream of slow walkers on their way to Mueller Hut carrying heavy packs. Sealy Tarns is a good turnaround point for those with just moderate fitness, but if you can make it then I strongly recommend you keep going for views over the other side of the Sealy Range. (This would be almost the same distance again, but perhaps not quite as steep). Track notes at the end.

Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m: The Scenery

My photography was fairly mediocre, but the area is so beautiful and dramatic that it still looks good. I will have to get over there again and take some more pictures.

Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
The Hooker River
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Hooker Lake and Mt Cook.
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Mueller Glacier Lake, Hooker River, Hooker Glacier Lake, and Aoraki/Mt Cook (left).
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Mt Sefton (3151m) from Sealy Tarns (about 1300m of elevation).
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Mueller Glacier Lake (the water’s a bit off to the right), Hooker Lake, and Mt Cook.
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Sophia and me.
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Sophia, me, and Mt Cook in the background.
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
The Hooker River joins with the Tasman River.
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Sophia relaxing at our turnaround point (1740m above Sealy Tarns).
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
The Mueller Glacier (centre left). Possibly the Ngakanohi Glacier to the right.
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Mt Sefton (3151m) and a more distant Mt Cook (3755m).
Sealy Tarns & beyond to ~1740m, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
A really fabulous view of Mt Sefton (3151m, on the right), and various glaciers and other high peaks; viewed from a great viewpoint at about 1740m above Sealy Tarns, on the way to Mueller Hut. Not well photographed, I recommend you get up there yourself and take a better photo. I might do the same next time I’m in the area.

Track Notes

The track to Sealy Tarns is constructed with steps (2200 of them apparently). After that I seem to remember that the route was marked by poles, but not hard to navigate anyway. You could walk all the way to Mueller Hut, but I don’t think it would add all that much extra value scenery wise. The Sealy Tarns Track branches off the Kea Point Track, which starts either near the Aoraki Mt Cook Visitor Centre, or for a shorter version, the White Horse Hill Campground (in the map below). That is also the start of the excellent and easier going Hooker Valley Track.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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