Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Until 2014, its height was officially listed as 3,754 metres, but new measurements have given a revised height of 3,724 metres (12,218 ft). It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. Aoraki / Mount Cook consists of three summits lying slightly south and east of the main divide, the Low Peak, Middle Peak and High Peak, with the Tasman Glacier to the east and the Hooker Glacier to the west.
The mountain is in the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, in the Canterbury region, which was established in 1953 and along with Westland National Park, Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park forms one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The park contains more than 140 peaks standing over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) and 72 named glaciers, which cover 40 percent of the park’s 700 square kilometres (170,000 acres).
The settlement of Mount Cook Village is a tourist centre and base camp for the mountain. It is 7 km from the end of the Tasman Glacier and 12 km south of Aoraki / Mount Cook’s summit.
Aoraki/Mount Cook receives substantial orographic precipitation throughout the year, as breezy, moisture-laden westerly winds dominate all year-round, bringing rainclouds from the Tasman Sea with them. Annual precipitation at the nearby village averages 4,484 mm (176.5 in), about 36 percent less than the average annual precipitation of Milford Sound, by far the wettest inhabited location in New Zealand.