With 4-5 year old children and too little time we didn’t go tramping, not really, but even for our lot there were a couple of easy walking options close to the highest peak of NZ. Those we could do in 0,5-1 hour to give us a taste for it. We were about to only walk to the closest swing bridge but our children enjoyed the mountain views and path so much that we continued (and carried the kiddo the last bit back…). I hope I’ll be back for a proper day hike one day, the colours were beautiful!
We had luck as the peak was clear when we arrived. We could see the glacier quite well. It was very windy though so having warm clothes made the experience more enjoyable.
If you drive to Mt Cook it is also worth visiting the Hillary centre with a great free exhibition of mountaineering. Kids found it interesting too (for a while) to see the gear people have used when climbing. Tough people, can’t believe what equipment they used and survived!
My daughter was especially fascinated by the story of the first female who became famous in the mountaineering community and reached many of the highest peaks. She was an Australian, who in her time got a few high eye brows also by climbing without a shaparon and with skirt and high white collar on. Times have changed…
Anyway, Mt Cook was a highlight on our trip!