The classic hike close to the highest peak in New Zealand was the Copland Pass Track â€” but it has been closed to the general public for years. Landslide made it too dangerous.
The best alternative is the guided Ball Pass Trek, a 3-day trek spending two nights at Caroline Hut 1830m (6000ft).
Alpinists may prefer the toughter Fitzgerald Pass route (Jubilee Route from Mt. Cook to the Copland Valley).
Know that the weather is often horrendous. It may be days before you see the top of Aoraki (cloud piercer).
Ball Pass route