1.5 Hrs 2.6 km (loop)


  • Mirror lake views of Aoraki/Mount Cook
  • Lush native forests
  • Lakeside walks



Dawn and dusk are the best viewing times as the lake is generally calm.

Wander through ancient forest and gaze on mirror-like reflections of New Zealand's highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook on this easy Lake Matheson hike.

Follow the track over the Clearwater suspension bridge, pass tall kahikatea and rimu to the jetty viewpoint. Here you will be greeted by magnificent mountain views reflected in the dark waters. 

Lake Matheson is famous for its stunning mirror-like reflections, which are the result of leaf matter leaching into the water and turning it a dark brown colour.

As you leave the jetty and begin to circle the lake, you will come across numerous reflections shrouded in native foliage. Stop at the top end of the lake, and again at Reflection Island, to catch some of the most spectacular views.

Along the way, look out for eels. The long-finned eel is the most common species here and can sometimes be spotted breaking the tranquil surface of the lake.

Department of Conservation

Click the link below for more information and detailed maps about this hike.

Lake Matheson Walk(opens in new window)

More information

Alternative routes

  • Jetty viewpoint: This section is suitable for assisted wheelchairs (40 mins return)
  • Lake circuit: Complete lake circuit (1 hour 30 mins).


Getting there

  • From Fox Glacier township follow Cook Flat Road out of town, turn at the side road to Lake Matheson.


Need to know

  • Weather can change rapidly in this area be prepared for changing conditions.
  • Carry drinking water, insect repellent and sun protection at all times.
  • Camping is not permitted in this area.

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