Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier...

Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier Walks

Aoraki/Mount / Mt Cook National Park

96%

Details

22 Rankers Reviews

18 Face-to-Face

59 Walking

6 Mount Cook

Maps

Photos

A view up the Tasman
Tasman Glacier Lake...wow

Information

40 minutes return | 2 km return

A view down the terminal lake of the Tasman Glacier - New Zealand longest glacier at over 23 km - is not only spectacular, but graphically demonstrates a glacier in retreat. This is a wild and raw place, high mountains but close to the trimmings of civilisation.

Access

Tasman Glacier is signposted 7km along Tasman Valley Road, 1 km from the settlement of Aoraki/Mount Cook. There’s a large, but sometimes not large enough, parking area with toilets.

Track

From the carpark, the metalled track climbs over 70 metres to the top of the terminal moraines above the lake.

Two side tracks are possible on this walk:
The Tasman Glacier Lake (1 hour return 2.6 km), which branches off shortly after the start of the walk on the right.
And a short detour to Blue Lake (5 minutes return).

Blue Lake is also visible from above as you climb the steps to the lake viewing area. Floating icebergs stud the grey waters of the lake and in the distance the ice cliffs of the glacier’s terminal face occasionally calve. Rock debris covers the glacier, so it is difficult to make out the white of the ice flow.

On the opposite side of the valley are peaks such as Mount Blackburn, The Nuns Veil and The Acolyte. Mount Tasman is concealed in the far distance.

Geology

Previous to glacial action, many valleys were characterised by a system of interlocking spurs protruding into the valley floor – the legacy of water’s erosion carving V’s into the land. Glaciers worked differently and having no regard for these obstructions, simply bulldozed through the rock, truncating spurs to leave a triangular face bisecting the former ridgeline.

Glaciers filled the valleys and joined in the upland areas to form ice caps. The last Ice Age was known as the Otiran and occurred between 80,000 and 10,000 years ago. Ice was up to 2 km deep. Sea levels were up to 120 metres lower and ice reached over 10 km off today’s shoreline. At least 5 glacial advances and retreats are evident. At the conclusion of the last glacial between 35,000 and 14,000 years ago, a Glacial Maximum occurred, a short but intense episode of global cooling. This spurred on the glaciers in a final pulsing advance, which built up the vast terminal moraines, filling the McKenzie basin and extending glaciers 10 km past the current southern shores of Lake Pukaki. These details give some fuel for thought on the rapidity of climate change that occurs without the influence of humankind.

The Tasman Glacier is New Zealand’s longest. A series of Photoshopped photos on a revolving sign at the lookout show the glacier’s height in recent times. And it’s staggering rate of retreat. Currently the glacier is 23.5 km long, covers 101 square kms and is around 600m thick at it’s maximum depth. The terminus is 200m deep.

Details

Feature Value Info

Location

South IslandMount Cook - MacKenzieMount Cook

Categories

  • Walking
  • Free

Reviews

Showing 13 reviews of 20.

Raphaele's avatar

Raphaele

Ranking: 10/10

The Tasman glacier lake looks so surreal, almost like from another planet - I'm really glad we made this spontaneous stop. It's only a few minutes walk up to the viewpoint, so it's doable even after a long day in the Mt. Cook area.

Reviewed 9 months ago

Romy de Boer's avatar

Romy de Boer

Switzerland

Ranking: 10/10

Safe and beautiful! The view is amazing. Make a picnic stop here.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

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Kathi's avatar

Kathi

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Short walk, saw the Blue Lakes from an upper view point which are not blue anymore (you can see a description why there). Good view of the icebergs of the glaciers.

Reviewed about 3 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Suzanne Vermeulen's avatar

Suzanne Vermeulen

Netherlands

Ranking: 8/10

The blue lakes are actually green - there is an explanatory board 'why are the blue lakes green' - and you can't see the glacier terminal from the top. That being said, the views from the top were nice both ways. The track is mostly made of brand new steps - some 400 steps, we counted them to see what to expect on the 2200 steps of the Sealy Tarns track . The road to the Tasman glacier is brand new as well. It was a nice short walk. Took us 20min to get to the top.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago

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James Webster's avatar

James Webster

Ranking: 5/10

Ok but not great.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Nora Zeitz's avatar

Nora Zeitz

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Short as well but steep so you have a good view on the glacier and the lake.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Marcel's avatar

Marcel

Germany

Ranking: 6/10

It is a nice little walk and you will get a nice view of the Tasman Glacier, but nothing from another world.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

jessica newton's avatar

jessica newton

New Zealand

Ranking: 9/10

great view when you get to the top. You climb up lots of rocks so be careful not sure I would want to try in the wet or with small children but there is an easier track around the side.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Peter Moederer's avatar

Peter Moederer

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Nice bridges, some not so long tracks, swimming in the lakes, not so many people.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Sabrina Germany's avatar

Sabrina Germany

Germany

Ranking: 8/10

Beautiful view and lake with ice but the way was long and unsealed.

Reviewed about 7 years ago and experienced in March 2012

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Delore's avatar

Delore

France

Ranking: 8/10

A great view of the glacier for a short walk.

Reviewed about 7 years ago and experienced in March 2012

Linda Kosters's avatar

Linda Kosters

Netherlands

Ranking: 9/10

WOW, never seen such a thing in my life before.

Reviewed about 7 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Barrie Corless's avatar

Barrie Corless

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Initial views across Lake Tekapo were stunning, but nothing compared to those at Mount Cook itself - pray for a clear day!!!

Reviewed over 7 years ago

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Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner