The Tasman Glacier Walk may be a little less popular than the nearby Hooker Valley Track, but they both have amazing views and they’re super easy to add to a New Zealand itinerary!
At the end of the Tasman Glacier view track, you get top notch views of Tasman Lake, formed by New Zealand’s biggest glacier, as well as the Blue Lakes.
It’s one of the top treks in Mount Cook National Park. This travel guide will explain how to get there, and everything you need to know before you go!
- Distance: 1.8 kilometers (1.1 mi) return
- Elevation Gain: 85 meters (280 ft)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Duration: 40 mins
Where Is It?
Tasman Glacier is located on the South Island of New Zealand, in Mount Cook National Park.
The trailhead starts from Tasman Glacier Car Park, just 15 minutes from Mount Cook Village, and there’s generally plenty of parking space.
From Christchurch, it’s a 4 hour drive on mostly rural roads to get to the national park.
What To Expect
It’s an uphill climb to Tasman Glacier view point, but I would rate the trek as super easy. You can reach the top in just 20 minutes or less.
Near the halfway point, there’s a detour to visit the Blue Lakes, a pair of small glacier lakes that changed colors after they were named. These lakes used to be turquoise in the 1800s, but nowadays they’re only fed by rainwater so they’ve turned green.
If you branch off and visit the Blue Lakes too, the hike will take about 1 hour return without counting photo stops.
You’ll want to take lots of pictures on the Tasman Glacier Walk, because the viewpoint at the top gives great panoramic views of Tasman Lake, small icebergs, the lower glacier (which is retreating), Blue Lakes, and the surrounding mountains.
Tasman Glacier is the longest glacier in New Zealand. As of 2017, it’s 23 km long, although it’s shrinking rapidly. In 1890, it was 29 km long and there was 880-meter deep ice here.
There’s a separate (short) trail to go to the base of Tasman Lake, and I’ve heard it’s even more scenic than the top viewpoint. Sadly we missed that one because we were in a hurry. Next time!
FREE as of 2020.
No fees or permits are needed for the Tasman Glacier view track.
Where To Stay – Camping
The best place to camp is at the nearby White Horse Hill Campground.
The Hooker Valley Track and some other great trails start directly from this campground, and it also has flush toilets and filtered water for dishwashing. It doesn’t have showers, but those can be had at the nearby Mount Cook Village Shelter.
It’s a little overpriced at $15 NZD (~$9 USD) per person, but you’re paying for the amazing views and location. More info can be found in the handy CamperMate NZ app.
If you’re looking for a hotel instead, there are half a dozen options in the nearby Mount Cook Village.