Lake Matheson Walk

Lake Matheson Walk

Lake Matheson Walk


107 Rankers Reviews

95 Face-to-Face

8 Fox Glacier

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Lake Matheson in the fog....
The eel watching platform


Time: 1 hr 30 min round trip

Dawn or dusk are the times to try and be the pro photographer. The Holy Grail here is to catch the reflection of the highest peaks on a clear day with perfectly calm waters on the lake.


Lots of tourist buses visit here around 9am, so if you seek a quieter experience then time your walk for very early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

Even if its raining this walk is still memorable for the rainforest.


From the northern end of Fox township, turn into Cook Flat Rd and drive 4 km to where Lake Matheson is well signposted.

There is a large parking area, gift shop/cafe and toilets.


This well graded loop of the lake is well furnished with steps, benches, lookout platforms and signage.

Cross the swingbridge and take a left at the loop junction. The walk unfolds better this way.

Take the detours to the View of Views and Island Jetty.

Even if its raining this walk is still memorable for the rainforest.


All those postcards of snow-shimmering peaks reflected on still, forest fringes waters. ‘Come to NZ’ they say. They are taken here.

Lake Matheson occupies a kettle hole - a depression left by a broken off ice-block from the retreating glacier, which melted in situ.


Feature Value Info


DOC West Coast

Central government organisation


South IslandWest CoastFox Glacier


  • Walking
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 101.

Susanne's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Great walk around the lake, view is stunning!! The cafe next door serves good coffe. We did it on a rainy day and it was still one of the best walks!!

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Flatlanders's avatar



Ranking: 7/10

Yes indeed, it actually is a very silent lake at the right time (early). Even cloudy it makes nice mirror-photo's. If it's cloudy ánd windy...skip it. Track itself is a regular bushwalk with lot's of birdlife. Best part: The Robins and Fantails. They are extremely curious so will come real close (on your shoe or on a long stick on your shoulder)...if you're patient.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Mike Fricker's avatar

Mike Fricker

Ranking: 10/10

20Oct18. Weather dry and warm. A slight breeze so the lake was not mirror flat.
Good walk anyway and a cafe at the end.

Last time we were here it was mirror flat. The downside was it was the eye of the storm. We caught the end of a cyclone when we left!

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Katrina's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Well maintained track, loop around lake can be done in either direction. We were lucky enough to be in the right places at the right times to catch reflections - worth the early morning wake-up call.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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Tony Wilcomes's avatar

Tony Wilcomes


Ranking: 7/10

Great view of Mt Cook and nice walk around the Lake. Need to get there early morning for clear reflection of the mountains.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Sally Caboche's avatar

Sally Caboche


Ranking: 10/10

May 2107 Walked in the late afternoon, so no problem with crowds. Again blown away by the fantastic condition of the DOC tracks. This a great short walk as you wind around the lake, regardless of whether you see the reflections, which will only be seen in the optimum conditions. If you see the famous reflections it is a bonus, but enjoy one of the best short walks through a beautiful rainforest environment catching views of Aoraki Mt Cook and Tasman. Loved this meandering walk with the sun glittering through the leaves ... one of my favourites.

Reviewed over 4 years ago and experienced in May 2017

Jasmin Thuess's avatar

Jasmin Thuess


Ranking: 6/10

Nice landscape, but very crowded in the peak season. Need to be there very early in the evening or late in the afternoon, otherwise, you cannot see reflections.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

John Farley's avatar

John Farley

United Kingdom

Ranking: 5/10

In order to get the fabled reflection, it is necessary for the weather to be both cloudless and completely calm. A very rare occurrence in Fox. Otherwise, this is an easy, run of the mill rainforest stroll.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

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Allie Nertz's avatar

Allie Nertz

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Very beautiful view of the reflective lake.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Katrina Sedl's avatar

Katrina Sedl

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Loved the sunset, amazing view.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Colin Fisher's avatar

Colin Fisher

United States

Ranking: 10/10

One of the best things I have ever seen. Pictures will last a lifetime and definitely would recommend to others. Easy walk as well.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Chris Schmolz's avatar

Chris Schmolz

United States

Ranking: 10/10

One of the best views in New Zealand.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Jair's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Above our expectations. The gift shop and the cafe show how well New Zealand is invested here.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner