Time: 40 min return
Gradient: Gradual incline with rock steps
From the car park, walk past the Blue Lakes shelter and continue 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 and a chance to see New Zealand smallest bird, the ever-chirpy rifleman.
Time: 1 hr
This walk branches off the Blue Lakes Track just past the Blue Lakes shelter and leads to a viewpoint of the glacier’s terminal lake. Another track branches off to go to the source of the Tasman River. Icebergs can usually be seen floating in the lake in summer, and in winter, the lake freezes over. The track leads through the glacier’s old terminal moraines (rock and stone debris left when a glacier retreats), 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.
Ensure you take:
Tasman Glacier Lake is a relatively recent addition to the scene, starting its formation in 1974 and growing steadily since then. The large terminal moraines mark the foot of the Tasman Glacier at the time of the lake’s formation and are a sobering reminder of the glacier’s retreat.
Auckland and parts of the Waikato are at Level 3. DOC huts and campsites are closed in these regions. The rest of New Zealand is at Level 2.