Mount Tutoko is a massive peak in the Darran Range, lying between the lower Hollyford Valley and Milford Sound at the head of Tutoko River, a tributary of the Cleddau, rising to 9,042 ft above sea level. This peak is the highest in Fiordland and supports permanent snow fields and several large hanging glaciers, the largest of which are the Donne and Age. Two subsidiary summits (9,030 ft and 9,020 ft) lie immediately south of the main peak, which is joined to the south-east by Mount Madeline. Access is most commonly gained from the head of the Tutoko River via some part of the Age Glacier. The Tutoko Valley was first visited in the 1890s and names associated with early exploration include Donald Sutherland, Malcolm and Kevin Ross, J. C. Fyfe, W. J. Hodgkins, Dr J. R. Don, W. G. Grave, J. R. Murrell, and E. R. Williams. In 1919 Samuel Turner began a series of expeditions in the area and in 1924 made the first ascent by way of the north-west ridge with the Alpine guide, Peter Graham.
Although not an accessible tourist attraction, Mount Tutoko presents a magnificent view from the Tutoko Bridge on the Te Anau-Milford road.
It is generally considered that Hector named the mountain in 1863, after Tutoko, a chief who lived at Martin's Bay. There is, however, much uncertainty as to the origin of the name. It may pre-date the Acheron survey (1850-51).
by Bryce Leslie Wood, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Dunedin.