Photo By Peter Watts
Lake Matheson

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Panorama taken from a walkway around Lake Matheson. The walk around the lake passes through temperate rain forest, along the shores of the lake and through reed beds. When the waters are still, as shown here, the lake provides good reflections of the surrounding mountains and sky. The most famous reflection viewpoint was under water at the time I visited due to heavy rains. Image taken summer 2008.


Lake Matheson - Fox Glacier visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Lake Matheson' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from West Coast.

Lake Matheson is one of the popular tourist attractions near to Fox Glacier Township on the West Coast of New Zealand. This lake is the result of glaciation, formed about 14,000 years ago when Fox Glacier retreated from the valley. The lake is filled with long finned eels and visited by many water birds. Before the Europeans arrived, Lake Matheson was a traditional Māori mahinga kai (food gathering place).

Today Lake Mathson is famous for the stunning reflections produced in the brown water on a still day. Thousands flock here to see these reflections of both Aoraki (Mount Cook) and Mount Tasman. The best viewing times are on early on cloudless mornings, before the winds pick up disturbing the lake.

An hour long walk circuits the lake, starting at the car park and crossing the Clearwater River suspension bridge. This trail pases through ancient native forest, including tall rimu and kahikatea trees. At the far end the broad walk crosses some reed beds and through fern gullies to the famous reflections viewpoint on the northern side. Many well known New Zealand artists have sat her painting the mountains. The trail continues round the lake to end up once again at Clearwater River, which flows west to the Tasman Sea just south of Gillespies Beach about 10km away.


Take the Cook Flat Road west from Highway 6 at the center of Fox Glacier Township. About 4km down the road turn right into Lake Matheson Road and park at the visitor centre at the end.

Recent Local Panoramas

Waterfall at Franz Josef Glacier
Waterfall at Franz Josef Glacier / Franz Josef Glacier
Ice Blocks on Walk to Franz Josef Glacier
Ice Blocks on Walk to Franz Josef Glacier / Franz Josef Glacier
Picnic Area at Lake Matheson
Picnic Area at Lake Matheson / Fox Glacier
Clearwater River Suspension Bridge
Clearwater River Suspension Bridge / Fox Glacier
Lake Matheson Temperate Forest
Lake Matheson Temperate Forest / Fox Glacier
Lake Matheson Reed Beds
Lake Matheson Reed Beds / Fox Glacier
Gillespies Beach Driftwood
Gillespies Beach Driftwood / Fox Glacier
Cook Flat Road to Gillespies Beach
Cook Flat Road to Gillespies Beach / Fox Glacier


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