Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
Stravon's closest National Park was established in 1953 and has 19 peaks over 3,000m including New Zealand’s highest - the majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook.
According to Ngai Tahu legend, Aoraki and his three brothers were the sons of Rakinui, the Sky Father. While on a sea voyage, their canoe overturned on a reef. When the brothers climbed on top of their canoe, the freezing south wind turned them to stone. The canoe became the South Island (Te Waka o Aoraki); Aoraki and his brothers became the peaks of the Southern Alps. In 1851 Captain J. L. Stokes, sailing down the West Coast, gave the mountain its European name, Mount Cook, in honour of the explorer Captain James Cook.
Almost devoid of forest but alive with the most wonderful alpine plants, the Park is a land of rock & ice. Glaciers cover 40% of it, including New Zealand’s largest glacier – the Tasman Glacier. The National Park became even more accessible when in 1955 the world’s first Ski Plane using a retractable ski landed on the Tasman Glacier. Even today, landing on the Tasman Glacier is like setting foot on to another world.
About 40 species of birds are found in the park, and perhaps the most distinctive of these is the Kea, the world’s only mountain parrot, well known for its mischievous antics. The only true alpine bird is the tiny Rock Wren or Piwauwau, which survives the winter in high rock basins. However Kea, Karearea and Karoro can be found soaring in higher areas. Over 300 species of plants are found in the park including, the famed Mount Cook Lily, Ranunculus lyalli, the largest buttercup in the world.
At night the park and the surrounding 4,300 sq km turns into an international dark sky reserve which to cut a long story short means it is one of the best stargazing venues on earth.
Thanks to all of these outstanding natural values, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park forms a part of the UNESCO Te Wahipounamu South West of New Zealand World Heritage Area and from the short film below, you'll see why this very special National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage Area are held in such high esteem.
All, just a stones throw away from Stravon.