Two walkers taking in the view of Lake Matheson
Famous for mirror views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, Lake Matheson is nestled in ancient forest just 5 km from Fox Glacier Weheka.
The lake was formed about 14,000 years ago when the Fox Glacier Te Moeka o Tuawe retreated from its last major advance towards the sea and left a depression which later filled with water.
The excellent mirror-like reflecting properties are due to the dark brown colour of the waters, the result of organic matter leached from the humus of the forest floor.
Car park to Jetty Viewpoint
Time: 40 min return car park to jetty
Distance: 1 km return car park to jetty
The first section of the walk, to the Jetty Viewpoint, is suitable for assisted wheelchairs. After crossing the Clearwater suspension bridge, the walk to the Jetty Viewpoint takes you past tall kahikatea and rimu as well as a rich profusion of smaller plant varieties.
The Jetty provides a magnificent mountain view reflected in the dark waters.
Time: 1 hr 30 min return lake circuit
Distance: 2.6 km return lake circuit
After walking to the Jetty Viewpoint, continue further around the lake. You will find a similarly magnificent mountain reflection shrouded in native foliage at the View of Views at the top end of the lake, and again at Reflection Island.
Dawn and dusk are generally the best viewing times as the lake is generally calm.
Turn onto Cook Flat Road in the middle of Fox Glacier Weheka township (this is well signposted). Travel 5 km along this road then turn right onto the side road to Lake Matheson.
Know before you go
- Check the current track conditions and weather forecasts at the local DOC office (Fox Glacier Weheka township) or the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE before starting your trip.
- Always take warm and waterproof clothing as the weather can change rapidly.
- Carry drinking water, insect repellent and sun protection at all times.