The Hermitage Hotel at dusk. ©

The Hermitage: a haven for the adventurous

The Hermitage Hotel
View the map


Not much has changed of the view from the Hermitage from the day it was opened in 1884.

Jagged, snowy peaks in every direction, and the fast-flowing, freezing-cold Hooker River pretty much flowing past the front door. They used to cross it on horseback or via a dinky wee cable-car in the good old days.

There’s a handy wee bridge now, and you’ll have traversed a few on the stunning drive up, too.

Look up as you park the car, and see the soaring peak of Aoraki Mount Cook perfectly juxtaposed against the v-shaped Hooker Valley. As long as it’s not misty, or night time!

Tom Fyfe, George Graham and Jack Clarke started the first successful ascent of Mount Cook (as it was then) from this very spot in 1894 (knocking the peak off on Christmas Day of that year) and our own Sir Ed Hillary, too, set forth from here in 1939 when he conquered Mt Ollivier, his first peak.

The justifiably famous hotel has quite a history itself, the first incarnation being destroyed by floods not even 50 years after it was opened. Fire claimed the rebuild in 1957; the current version has now stood for over 60 years, with a new wing added in 2001.

The accommodation ranges in size and cost, and there’s a host of bars and restaurants within the complex. After a day clambering over the ice you’ll be keen for something to be poured over ice, and there’s plenty of exquisite spots here where you can do just that, all the while assailed by the stunning face of Aoraki.

And you’re right next door to the visitors’ centre, giving you easy access to all the info you could possibly need before venturing out on any of the amazing activities on offer up here. A picturesque playground, but one that demands respect, too.

Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Mid-Canterbury: the South Island’s best-kept secret

It doesn’t get more classic South Island than mid-Canterbury, writes Liz Carlson.

Find out more

Things to do > Out and about

Canterbury Plains hot air ballooning

A still morning is what you want: after all, set yourself aloft at the mercy of the winds when the famous Canterbury nor’wester is due and it’s next stop, Patagonia.

Find out more

Things to do > Must-Do's

Must-Do's Hawke's Bay: art deco, wine and the largest gannet colony in the world

Traverse beautiful coastline, riverbeds, rolling pastures and native bush before taking in panoramic views and experiencing the exhilarating sight and sound of 20,000 gannets.

Find out more

Things to do > Must-Do's

Must-Do's Auckland: the show never stops

Summit the city's most iconic volcano, as well as its youngest and largest.

Where to stay in Canterbury Region

Show me all Places to stay

7 /10
From $95
Hanmer Springs Larchwood Motel

New owners of Larchwood Motels offer travellers a selection of clean, comfortable accommodation to suit all budgets. Built from Hanmer Springs larc...

Book now

9 /10
From $135
Serenity Motels

Escape from the busy main roads and enjoy a peaceful night's sleep in the picturesque township of Pleasant Point on SH8, just 10 minutes from SH1 a...

Book now

9 /10
From $130
Coronation Park Motel & Coronation Holiday Park

Our Motel complex, in combination with our Holiday Park, has accommodation to suit any budget. We have 11 motel units ranging from modern, spacious...

Book now

8 /10
Hotel Ashburton

WELCOME TO HOTEL ASHBURTON Set on the outskirts of Ashburton in Mid-Canterbury, New Zealand, our hotel offers exceptional Ashburton accommodation a...