Mt Olivier – Mueller Hut – Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park NZ

Really spectacular views the whole way on this classic alpine walk to Mt Olivier via Sealy Tarns and Mueller Hut, in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

A really spectacular (and steep) alpine walk in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to three possible end points. First are the attractive Sealy Tarns at 1300m, which make for a moderate day walk. Then for the energetic, or those equipped for an overnight stay, continue on up the hill to Mueller Hut, and on for 500-600m to the summit of Mt Olivier (1933m). There are views of Mt Sefton (3151m), NZ’s highest peak Aoraki Mt Cook (3724m), various glaciers and glacier lakes, and the Hooker River Valley 1000m below. Highly recommended.

The climbing is steep but if you like that kind of thing then the only problem will be the long stream of slow walkers during peak periods. 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. I’ve only been as far as about 1740m, but Sophia had the opportunity to stay at Mueller Hut in excellent weather, so I’ve now added those photos to extend this post.  Track notes at the end.

Mt Olivier – Mueller Hut – Sealy Tarns: The Scenery

The first photos were from 2015 when we did a day walk to the ridge above Sealy Tarns for views of the Mueller Glacier. My photography was fairly mediocre, but the area is so beautiful and dramatic that it still looks good. After that are pics taken by my wife Sophia from 2022.

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
The Hooker River joins with the Tasman River.
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 next photos from Sophia’s solo trip to Mueller Hut and then Mt Olivier…

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Mt Sefton (3151m)
Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Mueller Hut and Mt Olivier

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Mueller Hut and Aoraki Mt Cook from Mt Olivier (1931m).
Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Mueller Hut and Mt Sefton from Mt Olivier.

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Photos from the following morning…


Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
The Mueller Glacier
Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
The hut in the morning, with Mt Cook in the distance.

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Track Notes

Mt Olivier - Mueller Hut - Sealy Tarns
On a track with many steps to Sealy Tarns, then a poled route to Mueller Hut, then off track over rocks to Mt Olivier.

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. From the hut it’s off track to Mt Olivier.

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.

For more info consult the DOC website.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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