Sealy Tarns Track

Sealy Tarns Track

Mount / Mt Cook National Park


22 Rankers Reviews

20 Face-to-Face

8 Mount Cook

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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The scenery will take your breath away


4 km return | 3 hours return

This is like Mueller Hut Route, but the ‘lite’ version. Still a massive grunt up thousands of steps. Still lots of awe-inspiring views. But without that last killer bit to the top.


This walk can only be attempted when there is no snow. Check with DoC at Mount Cook before embarking on the walk and be sure to register intentions. Be sure also to say you have arrived BACK safely.

This is an alpine walk, and should only be attempted in fine weather. Conditions change very quickly up here, so make sure you check weather with DoC and heed their advice.


The start of the track is signposted from White Horse Hill carpark at the end of Hooker Valley Road.


Follow the signs from the back of the carpark and weave through the low forest. Prepare yourself for the ascent of over 2000 steps. Every so often, the forest clears and you can catch your breath gazing back at the breath-taking terminal lake of the Mueller Glacier, the medial moraines and the Hooker Valley. Not to mention Mount Cook.

There’s a short detour to a long bench by the Sealy Tarns, the natural stopping off place for refreshment. The cold waters of the tarns are rejuvenating for a face wash.

Return via the same track.


Sealy Tarns occupy poorly drained hollows on a flatter sections of land. Wind ripples the water with every gust. In periods of calm however, especially in the early morning, the glassy surface reflects rock and sky.


Feature Value Info


DOC Canterbury

Central government organisation


South IslandMount Cook - MacKenzieMount Cook


  • Walking
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 22.

Raphaele's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

This a stepped track all the way up to the sealy tarns. The track is very demanding especially when it's hot - the sun is just brutal and there's almost no shade along the way. We did the track between 11 am and 2 pm which in hindsight was very bad timing. The views were still worth it but next time I would start early in the morning.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Matthew's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

A steep climb up a stepped walkway (est 10,000 steps) leads to a small alpine lake and picnic table cited beneath the Huddlestone Glacier with fantastic views of Mt Cook and the valley. Not for the very unfit though the views from halfway are still sublime.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Katarina's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Really cool but a lot of stairs! The track is basically a vertical stairway but the views are amazing! Highly recommended.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Sebasitian's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Very nice short walk. Three hours return. Amazing views. Track got really busy but was totally worth it!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

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Gilbert Keiser's avatar

Gilbert Keiser


Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful hikes, amazing landscapes and great weather.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in February 2017



United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Steep steps, over 1800 of them. Great workout and the views make up for the touch climb. Amazing scenery.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in October 2016

Charlotte Leong's avatar

Charlotte Leong

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Approximately three hours return (not including photo time at the top!). Moderate/difficult climb up, but made easier with steps rather than loose gravel. The views are worth the climb up, 100%

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Katrina's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Feb 2106: If you think the carpark view is gorgeous at 760m elevation, just wait until you get to the top of the track. STUNNING views on a clear day! But nothing in life is free - you will pay for this view the next day - 1800+ stairs will challenge your legs and your fitness. A dip in the alpine lake at the summit is a chilly reward.

Jan 2018: Went at a much busier time of year and had to contend with a lot more people on the track. Pays to go nice and early if it is a sunny day. Those that started late had to contend with almost unbearable temperatures and no reprieve from the sun. There are no facilities at the tarn - no toilet, no shelter, no tap - please be prepared! Too many people at the top appeared to be lacking in food, water and sun protection.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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Iris Gigacher 's avatar

Iris Gigacher


Ranking: 9/10

This is a great compromise if you expected to do the Mueller Hut but cannot due to the weather conditions - you still get great views of Mt Cook and the Glaciers. The track nearly almost consists of steep steps!

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in November 2015

Cody Stewart's avatar

Cody Stewart


Ranking: 9/10

The 2200 step track was a great alternative to going all the way up to Mueller's hut on a day when it was too windy to do so. Spectacular views for a relatively mild track.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Lucas Anderson's avatar

Lucas Anderson


Ranking: 9/10

Fairly steep and taxing walk, views are worth it at the top (and en route).

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Max Seikowsky's avatar

Max Seikowsky


Ranking: 8/10

Hard, beautiful view, great photo spot.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Kelsey Austin's avatar

Kelsey Austin

United States

Ranking: 7/10

The most difficult walk directly up to a ridge but on a clear day, spectacular views of Mt Cook and Mt Sefton. A very moving experience to be up with such large mountains.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in December 2015

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner