The Mueller Hut track is a spectacular ascent starting at Mt Cook National Park (765m) and finishing at Mueller Hut (1780m). Although the track is only 4.6 km, it takes around 4 hours to reach Mueller Hut, due to the gradient - it is all uphill. But don't let that put you off, the views are absolutely breathtaking, and besides, the return journey is all downhill!
You can start the walk from Mt Cook Village or the White Horse campsite. If you start at Mt Cook Village, it will take around half an hour before you pass the White Horse Campsite. From here, your steep ascent will begin very soon. Shortly after starting the ascent, the really big views begin. These only get better and better the higher you get.
Stop at Sealy Tarns for a bite to eat and a photo or two. Sealy Tarns is a point where most day trekers turn around. For those of us continuing on to Mueller Hut, the track doesn't get any easier. If you're doing this in the summer, once you reach the snow fields you know you're not far away from Mueller Hut, however, this is probably the hardest part of the track. You might get the feeling you're walking the wrong way up an escalator as your feet keep sliding out from under you. This task is made a whole lot easier if you can find someone else's footprints to walk in.
After a while, you will need to scramble over some large boulders and try not to lose the markers. Mueller Hut is not far from here.
From Mueller Hut, you can watch (and hear) the snow avalanches streaming down Mt Sefton - New Zealand's 3rd highest mountain. You are also have a full view of Mt Cook (as you have had all day), NZ's highest mountain.
Once you've settled in at Mueller Hut, if you're up to the challenge, you can make your way up to the peak of Mount Ollivier (1,933 m). This should take you around an hour or so.
Sunset and sunrise can be spectacular from Mueller Hut.
Mueller Hut bookings are done at the DOC office at Mt Cook Village. Once you arrive at Mueller Hut, you will need to choose a place to put your sleeping bag. There are two bunkrooms each with platform bunks. You need to take your own food, cooking utensils, pots, toilet paper etc. Water is available but use it sparingly.