Lake Matheson Walkway

Offering unparalleled views of Fox Glacier, Mt Tasman and Aoraki/Mt Cook, Lake Matheson is the most photographed lake in New Zealand … and it’s no surprise why. The walkway offers infinite opportunities to capture New Zealand’s highest peaks, native birds and flowers. Situated 6km west of the Fox Glacier township in the heart of the Glacier Country, the Lake Matheson walking track commences between the Matheson Café and ReflectioNZ Gifts and Gallery. There is an excellent interpretational area at the entrance to the walk, providing information about Lake Matheson and the walkway itself.

Winding through ancient native rainforest, the walkway has three viewing platforms along the journey, providing unprecedented views. The full circuit around the lake takes approximately 1 – 1 ½ hours. However, a shorter version can be selected for those tight on time, which takes you on a return journey to Jetty View Point. This takes approximately 30 minutes and is graded for wheelchair access.

A nature walk that offers you a tranquil journey through winding bush with plentiful bird song and stunning views, no matter what the mood of the lake. The best time to capture the perfect reflection is at dawn or dusk, before there is any breeze.

If you are unable to capture the perfect photo there is a range of professional products available at ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery. Some images can also be seen in our Photo Gallery. After a circuit of the lake a stop for refreshments at Matheson Cafe is a great way to sit back and review your photos.


History of Lake Matheson

Visits to Lake Matheson started in the 1950s. Guests from the Fox Hotel were encouraged to go on this early morning excursion. All would gather for a cup of tea in the hotel kitchen then a short bus trip down to the lake car park (if the bus would start). The walk would start from the same place as now but with no bridges everyone’s feet were soon wet. A 15-minute walk through the bush track would get them to a small beach where a rowboat was moored. With the guide at the oars guests would soon be at Reflection Island. Low fog would sometimes increase the boat ride, as they would go in circles until the fog cleared. Once on reflection island there was an impatient 5 min wait for the ripples from the boat to settle and the perfect reflection of New Zealand’s highest peaks to appear.