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Lake Matheson

Famous for mirror views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, Lake Matheson is nestled in ancient forest just 5 km from Fox Glacier. Nature has combined exactly the right ingredients to create truly stunning reflections of New Zealand’s largest peaks. The mirror-like reflecting properties are due to the dark brown colour of the water, the result of organic matter leached from the humus of the forest floor.

The lake was formed about 14,000 years ago, when the Fox Glacier retreated from its last major advance towards the sea and left a depression which later filled with water.

There are a couple of options for short walks here, depending on how long you have. The walk from the car park takes 40 minutes to the pontoon. After crossing the clearwater suspension bridge, the walk to the jetty viewpoint takes you past tall kahikatea and rimu as well as a rich profusion of smaller plant varieties. Another option is the lake circuit which takes approximately 1.5 hours around the lake. After walking to the jetty viewpoint, continue further around the lake. You will find a similarly magnificent mountain reflection shrouded in native foliage at the top end of the lake, and again at Reflection Island.

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