Lake Matheson Walk

Alert/Important notice

Car park construction work

Contractors will be on site for two to three months from early February 2013 undertaking construction work in the car park area. 

For your safety, please take notice of all signs and barriers.  Parking and toilet facilities will be available throughout the construction period.

Track category

Easy access short walk
Short walk

Time:  

40 min return car park to jetty, 1 hr 30 min return lake circuit

Distance:  

1 km return car park to jetty, 2.6 km return lake circuit

Description

View on to Lake Matheson. Photo: Ian Gill.
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.

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. 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.

Getting there

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.

Places to stay

There are a number of accommodation options in Fox Glacier Weheka.

Plan and prepare

  • 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.


Related link

Magical places - 40 wetlands to visit in New Zealand brochure

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Safety

Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for West Coast places

Contacts

Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Address:   13 State Highway 6
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Franz Josef Glacier Base
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

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