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Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand

December 24th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Aoraki/Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, a peak in the Southern Alps range that runs the length of the West Coast of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. The Tasman Glacier and Hooker Glacier flow down its slopes.

Following the settlement between Kāi Tahu and the Crown in 1998, the name of the mountain was officially changed from Mount Cook to Aoraki/Mount Cook to incorporate its original name, Aoraki. As part of the settlement, a number of South Island placenames were appended with their Māori name. Signifying the importance of Aoraki/Mount Cook, it is the only one of these names where the Māori name precedes the English. In the terms of the settlement, the Crown also agreed to return title to Aoraki/Mount Cook to Kāi Tahu, who would then formally gift it back to the nation.

The mountain is located within the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. The park was formally declared in 1953, and in combination with Westland National Park is one of the United Nations World Heritage Parks. The park contains more than 140 peaks standing over 2,000 m (6,500 ft) and 72 named glaciers, which cover 40% of the park's 700 km² (173,000 acres).

The settlement of Mount Cook Village (also known as The Hermitage) serves as a tourist centre and base camp for the mountain. It is located 4 km from the head of the Tasman Glacier, 12 km south of Aoraki/Mount Cook's summit.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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