NZ’s Most Photographed Lake

This morning I arrived in my next destination – Fox Glacier. Similar to Franz Josef, it’s both the name of the town and glacier here.
Although only a 30 minute bus ride, it feels like a world away! Granted I haven’t seen much, but it’s a teeny town surrounded by farm land, while Franz Josef was more rainforest and wooded.
The road to the glacier was actually closed today due to falling rocks, so I headed to Lake Matheson instead. It was actually a lake I wanted to see anyway, so it worked out perfectly.
Lake Matheson is New Zealand’s most photographed lake and is known for its reflective waters. The Southern Alps (specifically Mount Tasman and Mount Cook) tower in the background and on a clear, calm day, you’re supposed to get a mirror image.
The lake is 6km (a little over 3 miles) from town, but the walk was gorgeous! Yesterday was the first day of summer, so it’s starting to get warm. The sun was shining, the grass is green as ever and you’re surrounded by the Alps.


I felt like I was stopping every 5 minutes to take a picture! As mentioned earlier, it’s pretty much all farm land and little motels/B&B’s.


I finally arrived at the lake, and was surprised to see it is actually considered a world heritage site!


There is a walking path that circles the lake, with various viewpoints. The lake itself isn’t big – the whole path only took an hour or so to walk, and that’s stopping to take pictures, etc.


The lake is a dark blue/brown shade, from the mud and forest floor. The dark color though makes it much better for the reflection.

Dawn and dusk are supposed to be the best times to go – few clouds and less wind. Even a small breeze makes ripples in the water, which can affect the reflection. I was there about 11am, but still got great views!

The main view spot is called “Reflection Island,” which is supposed to give the idyllic image. Turned out pretty nice!



Quite a gorgeous trail; amazing views of the mountains! 

Ended up being a perfect day trip and great weather. Hopefully tomorrow the glacier road will be open!

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5 thoughts on “NZ’s Most Photographed Lake

  1. Those are fantastic photos Kimmy. Just great that you had such perfect weather to walk to Lake Matheson and see all that lovely countryside and the Southern Alps towering behind. Hope you can get to the glacier. What adventures you’re having. Wonderful!

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  2. Gorgeous photos, Kimmy!!! You are certainly seeing some gorgeous areas of the South Island. Your weather looks great. Have fun exploring! Love you.

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  3. Every place you go to is more beautiful than the last! The Southern Alps look spectacular. So happy you’re able to get out and see this gorgeous country. Hope the glacier road opens up for you. Looks like you couldn’t ask for better weather. Love your pictures.

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