You Won’t Believe How Gorgeous This Lake Is…

The next stop on our little camping trip to Middle Earth was Tasman Glacier and Lake inside the Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand. At 27 km, the Tasman Glacier is the longest Glacier in New Zealand. The glacier is receding at an unprecedented 400-800m every year now leading  scientists to believe that glacier itself will disappear within the next 17 years! There is little doubt that global climate change has resulted in the drastic increase in glacier recession. Can you believe the lake itself didn’t exist in 1973?

As I mentioned in my last post, we arrived at the Mt Cook National Park after the visitor center was closed and as daylight was fading so we had little in terms of resources to guide us on where to camp or which way the nearest lake was.  So if you are ever in this area, make sure to download the brochures provided by the NZ government and the regional map from Google Maps. 

The lake itself is easily accessible via a well paved road through the Tasman Valley followed by a 20-30 minute hike (seen above). Of course we didn’t know this, owing to the sporadic signal on our phones, so we just found ourselves driving in the direction of the lake in hopes that we would hit it before sunset. Here is the vlog about that right here:

Once you get to the parking lot for the lake at the end of the road, you will notice that there is a trail leading toward the lake. There is a fork in the trail at a certain point where if you make a right turn you will eventually find yourself at the edge of the lake itself, while a left turn towards some stairs leads to the Tasman Lookout Viewpoint. 

On our first day, we just followed the directions of a fellow American tourist there and went straight up the stairs to the lookout during sunset. It was a painful ascent but worthwhile in the end given that the clouds caught light and made for some magnificent panoramas.  

So on the very first day we heard what appeared to be an avalanche from a distance, but they turned out to be pieces of the glacier breaking off as the area continues to warm up. On the very next morning, we came back and took the right turn at the fork and arrived at the lake shore to find ourselves face to face with these massive pieces of ice floating in the lake:  

We instantly knew what was making a majority of those noises. They weren’t avalanches, humans, or motorists, but rather massive sheets of ice breaking off from the glacier and then floating down the lake. At the very edge of the lake, these massive sheets were breaking yet again, creating avalanche-like sounds. It was truly an astound experience watching these events unfold while at the lake shore. Here is the morning landscape photography video from the vlog: 

The lake itself is an absolute landscape photographer’s paradise. The black obsidian rocks, blue ice, and turquoise lake contrasted against the backdrop of the mountains is something to behold. Add this to the list of places you MUST visit while in New Zealand.  


All I can say about this experience is that I can’t wait to be back at the lake and see how it has transformed. Hopefully we can make sure that it takes 20 years for the Tasman Glacier to completely recede rather than the new projection of just 10 years. Most of us surely want to visit and marvel at both this lake and the glacier. 

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