Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
A 2 hour 4 km return walk that climbs about 300 metres in altitude to a loop walk around two tarns.
Map Data: Google, Digital Globe, Department of Conservation (DOC).

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Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
This is the Public Shelter in Mount Cook Village. It has wonderful hot showers - $2 for 5 minutes. A nice luxury after a long hard walk.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
The Red Tarns Track begins here - behind the Public Shelter.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
The walk begins by followinng a very luxurious path (typical of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park). In fact, if there was one National Park in New Zealand, that could be described as "upmarket", Aoraki Mount Cook would definitely be it.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
There's a gorgeous little stream trickling beside that seat.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Here, we go left. The other track leads to the Governors Bush Walk.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
The track climbs a few metres to a low ridgeline.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
And now we descend to cross the bridge over the Blackbirch Stream.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Bridge over the Blackbirch Stream. Looking downstream.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Blackbirch Stream. Looking upstream.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Okay... See those steps. There's going to be about 1750 of them going up (and then about 1750 of them coming back down again).

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
A short side track on the left leads up to this viewpoint.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
This short side track on the right leads to a view...

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
This one.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
What we are doing, with all this going upstairs is climbing partway up Mount Sebastopol - the lowest mountain in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. It's hidden behind those clouds...

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
The 1500th Step! Wow... That's great if you know how many steps there are in total. (About 1750). That means we're six sevenths of the way there...

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
This little cave is the only shelter on the whole walk. So, if it starts raining, wait here for a while and see if it stops. It's a comfortable little cave with a nice place to sit. We waited here. The rain didn't stop.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
This is the view from the cave. Nice...

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
And then there's a patch of the track that is less well-defined and rather exposed. This bit and the next bit wouldn't be good in high winds or low visibility.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Yeah... This bit is rather dodgy. It's hard to even see where the track is in this photo.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
This looks like the top - but it's not. Not quite. (If you'd been counting the steps, you'd know that).

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Interpretative signage.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Right... Now the track climbs for a few more steps.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
See that huge scree slope on the right in the distance..? That's Mount Sebastopol.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
And then the track forks. Do we go left or right? It doesn't matter. It's a loop track (we soon discover). We go left.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
At the top, there's this seat and one of those things for identifying surrounding mountains. It was raining. We didn't stay long.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
There it is... A Red Tarn. They're called the Red Tarns because of that red pond weed on the surface.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
The walkway loops around behind the two tarns.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
On a clear day, this view would be magnificent. We'll be back...

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Here we see both Red Tarns.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Now the track heads back to complete the loop.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Note the stunted alpine plantlife.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
And here we are back at the intersection where the loop began. Now we head back downhill.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
A viewpoint off to the right of the track overlooks the seat with the interpretative signage.

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Red Tarns Track, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

RED TARNS TRACK - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
And here we are, back at the Public Shelter.