This trip dossier contains all the information you require for booking this trip. Please print off and read carefully before booking.
Days: 2 days
(Alpine hiking and uneven terrain. Moderately strenuous)
Start/Finish: 8 am, Lake Tekapo
5 pm, Lake Tekapo
November 2018: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29
Period 1st May 18 - 30th Apr 19
A public holiday surcharge of NZ$100 pp applies to any trip which includes a public holiday such as Easter, Christmas, New Year or the local NZ Anniversary Day. Please enquire if you're not sure if this surcharge applies to your travel dates.
After an 8am gear check at the office, 30 Murray Place, Lake Tekapo, you are driven to Mount Cook which is about a 1 hour journey. You are then transferred to a 4WD vehicle and driven as far as possible up the old Ball Hut Road, parallel to the Tasman Glacier. The effects of glacial recession are very evident as you hike beside the lateral moraine. From Ball Shelter, climb 850m up the Ball Ridge to Caroline Hut at 1800m/6000ft, perched right opposite the awe-inspiring Caroline Face of Mount Cook. The panorama includes Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, all the mountains adjoining the Tasman Glacier, and Lake Pukaki.
As the hut is fully stocked you only need to carry some fresh items of food (e.g. bread, fruit, vegetables, meat) and your personal clothing and equipment.
There is an option to climb Fergun's Knob on the ridge above Caroline Hut before returning via the Ball Ridge and Tasman Valley. This time you have the 29km long Tasman Glacier stretching out in front of you to the north. Your descent route allows good views out over the ever-expanding terminal lake of the Tasman Glacier. During hot weather a refreshing swim in Blue Lake at the end of the hike is a great way to finish. You finish back in Lake Tekapo at about 5pm.
Average 4-5 hours physical activity per day, up to 8-9 hours on longer days.
Pack weights of 10-12kgs (22-26lbs) on some days.
Altitude gains of up to 800m (2600ft).
Some uneven track surfaces and river crossings.
No multi-day hiking experience necessary.
You need to be reasonably fit and enthusiastic.
Previous experience & agility: You need to be sure-footed, have good balance and have previous hiking, tramping or bushwalking experience. Crampons and ice-axe are not required.
The following items must be brought by you (these are not provided):
*Compeed and Leukoplast are recommended, available at chemists.
The following items can be provided for you, free of charge, if you do not have your own:
Transport from the meeting point in Tekapo to the start of the Ball Pass Trek (Mt Cook) and return is included in the price. You will travel in a small minibus certified to transport clients and your guides will hold a passenger endorsement on their drivers license.
All food is provided for you on the Mt Cook trek. A catering manager will prepare food: fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, quality cheeses and meats. Together with the gourmet skills of the guides, this ensures a consistently high standard cuisine. All snacks are included. Non-perishable food is stored at the hut. Because food quantities are carefully planned and prepared there is minimal waste to be carried out at the end of the trip and minimal effect on the environment. Please advise us if you are a vegetarian. Fresh produce will be carried into the hut as part of the group equipment.
Caroline Hut is the only owner-operated hut in Aoraki - Mount Cook National Park. The hut is for your exclusive use and guarantees your bunk space. Located in a spectacular high alpine setting it is outfitted with a wood-fired stove for heating, has solar lighting, and has full kitchen facilities with gas stoves. It has sleeping bags and is also stocked with non-perishable food. If bad weather forces a climbing course indoors, you are ensured of a private classroom, conducive to learning. Climbing crags, snow and ice fields are nearby, thus minimising travelling time and maximising learning.
Accommodation is required at Lake Tekapo before and after the tour. Please let us know if you require assistance booking.
There are no additional costs on the Mt Cook Trek. See booking conditions for Fitness Failure procedure.
All mountain and ski guides undergo professional training through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association which has international accreditation with the IFMGA / UIAGM, the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations. Each guide has extensive mountain experience within New Zealand and overseas.
What if the weather is bad?
Caroline Hut is located on the Ball Ridge, in the lee of Mt. Cook (from the prevailing west and northwest winds), so it is seldom that you cannot walk in to the hut, even if the weather is marginal. There is a wood-fired pot belly stove in the hut and a good drying rack. However, this is a high alpine environment and it could happen that the walk in to the hut may have to be deferred by a day. If all participants in the group have the flexibility to postpone the trip by a day and if guide(s) and hut are available, then the entire trip will be postponed by one day.
Alternatively you could take up the "Tekapo Hike", a 2 to 3-day mountain walk in the Two Thumb Range to the east of Lake Tekapo, based at the Rex Simpson Hut. This would only be an option if the weather looked as though it was going to be bad for all two days or if a climb to Caroline Hut is still not possible on day two.
When you book a trip you book the guide and the organisation that goes with it, you cannot book the weather. Guides are trained and instructed to always make the best possible decision for all the participants. On rare occasions this could mean having to return or not to go to Caroline Hut on day one for reasons of safety. On such occasions a refund cannot be given.
How "green" is the operator?
The operator reduces its carbon footprint and environmental impact through such things as:
- restricting group size
- using fuel efficient vehicles
- minimising use of vehicles and aircraft
- recycling, re-using, composting, avoiding "consumerism"
- minimal impact huts
- bulk buying of food supplies
- promoting conservation of native flora and fauna
- supporting community efforts to encourage appreciation of the natural environment
The operators reserve the right to alter, amend or cancel any tour, should weather or any other situation demand this.
The operators and its agents finalise all arrangements for these tours upon the express condition that they shall not be liable for loss of life, injury, illness, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of weather or any defect in any vehicle or aircraft or through the acts of default of any company or persons engaged in conveying the passengers or carrying out of arrangements of the tours. All clients have to complete a waiver form before starting their tour.
Guide, all meals on tour, hut accommodation, transport from Lake Tekapo and return, 15% GST.
Meals and accommodation before and after tour.
For bookings 4 or more months in advance of the departure a 25% deposit can be paid with the remainder due 65 days prior to your trip. For bookings within 4 months of the departure, full payment is required.
More than 50 days prior to departure: full refund less $300 cancellation fee applies
Between 50 and 31 days prior to departure: 50% refund of the total trip price
30 days or less prior to departure: no refund.
No refund for any services not utilised after tour has started.
If a client needs extra services due to lack of fitness and inability to continue with the group, additional fees may apply.
If a client needs extra services due to lack of fitness and inability to continue with the group, additional fees may apply. E.g. In the case of Ball Pass if a client overestimates his/her fitness to the extent that on Day 1 he/she is not able to reach Caroline Hut; or if the guide judges that the client is not fit enough to continue with the group, then he or she may need to pay an extra fee of $350, to cover the costs of an additional guide to evacuate him/her, and transport. Client will be liable for his/her accommodation/meal expenses outside the tour in such a case.
We strongly recommend that you have comprehensive travel insurance. In case of accident New Zealand's Accident Compensation scheme (ACC) will cover the majority of costs (about 80%) involved with evacuation and injury treatment, even for visitors to New Zealand. However you still need ordinary travel insurance to cover such things as your cancellation if an injury prevents you taking part on the trip, or a close relative suddenly becomes ill; and medical insurance in case you become ill. We suggest clients take out a comprehensive travel insurance.
World Nomads Travel Insurance provides online quotes.