IntroductionView New Zealand's longest glacier, the mighty Haupapa/Tasman Glacier on one of our best short walks.
- The 23 km Tasman glacier is the longest in New Zealand.
- The rifleman, New Zealand’s smallest bird.
- Fitness required: Low to moderate
- Gradient: Gradual incline with steps
Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier View Track
Time: 40 min return
Gradient: Gradual incline with rock steps
From the Blue Lakes car park, walk past the Blue Lakes shelter and meander up past the Blue Lakes to a viewpoint on the moraine wall. There are good views of the lower Haupapa / Tasman Glacier and lake, icebergs, and the mountains at the head of the valley.
A side trip to the Blue Lakes offers good swimming in summer.
At about 22 km long, the Haupap /Tasman Glacier is the longest glacier in New Zealand. Unfortunately, glaciers the world over are shrinking, with the Tasman receding over 100 m per year.
Tasman Lake Track
Time: 50 min to 1 hr return
This track also starts from the Blue Lake car park. It branches to the right off the Blue Lakes Track just past the Blue Lakes shelter and leads to a viewpoint of the Haupapa/Tasman Glacier terminal lake. A further track branches to the right off this track leading to the source of the Tasman River.
Icebergs can usually be seen floating in the lake in summer, and the lake freezes over in winter. The track leads through the old terminal moraines of the glacier, and you can see good examples of plant succession along the route.
Turn off SH80 onto Tasman Valley Road just before Aoraki/Mount Cook Village. Follow this for about 7 km to the car park at the end.
What to expect
- Track surface: Rock steps
- Change in elevation: +/- 86 m
- Rapidly changing weather – this walk is in an alpine region.
Ensure you take:
- sturdy footwear.
Tasman Lake is a relatively recent addition to the scene, starting its formation in 1974 and growing steadily since then. It is now large enough to take commercial boat and kayak tours. The large terminal moraines mark the foot of the Haupapa/Tasman Glacier at the time of the lake’s formation and are a sobering reminder of the glacier’s retreat.