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
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.
Tasman Glacier Lake
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.
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 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.