Lake Matheson / Te Ara Kairaumati Walk

Image: Miles Holden | ©


The area around the Fox Glacier township offers visitors a rare opportunity to easily access a dynamic glacial environment in a forested area while within driving and walking distance from the main highway.

Place overview


  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Fox Glacier area

About this place

Nature and conservation

In the last ice age the glacier extended in a huge ice-sheet to beyond the present coastline. Although the glacier has long since retreated, it has left reminders of its frozen past such as the glacial formed Lake Matheson in the present landscape.

The terminal face of the glacier is less than 300 metres above sea level and is just one of two in Westland Tai Poutini National Park to be this close to the coastline.

Fox Glacier Valley

Less than 6 kms from Fox Glacier township, the Fox Glacier Valley offers walking and cycling opportunities  − each with different views of the glacier valley. At 13 km long, the Fox Glacier (Te Moeka o Tuawe) is one of the longest (13 km) of the many glaciers within Westland Tai Poutini National Park

Lake Matheson

Further out towards the coast, 6 km from Fox Glacier, you can take an easy walk around the glacial formed Lake Matheson which provides beautiful reflections of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman and the forested shore in the still waters of the lake on calm, clear days.

Peak Viewpoint

A drive to Peak Viewpoint 9 kms from Fox Glacier heading towards the coast can provide panoramic views of Fox Glacier Te Moeka o Tuawe neve and the Southern Alps Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. This is outstanding at sunset on a cloudless day.

Lake Gault

Branching off the Lake Matheson Track, a greadual climb takes you an historic tramping track through ancient podocarp forest with views of Aoraki/Mount Cook in good weather. 

Getting there

Fox Glacier township is situated on SH6, 171 km south of Hokitika.

Know before you go

Looking after yourself

Always advise someone of your walking intentions including an estimated return time. Wear suitable footwear and always be prepared for sudden, unpredictable weather changes. On longer walks you should wear sturdy footwear.

General care

Do not feed the wildlife in the area, particularly kea.  This changes their natural behavior, can be detrimental to their health, and leads directly to destructive behavior kea are unfairly blamed for.

All drone use must be authorised by DOC

A concession is required to fly a drone on any public conservation land.


Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 752 0360
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   69 Cron Street
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Postal Address:   PO Box 14
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Hokitika Office
Phone:   +64 3 756 9100
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   10 Sewell Street
Hokitika 7810
Postal Address:   Private Bag 701
Hokitika 7842
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