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One of my favorite things we did in New Zealand was the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks. I didn’t know what it was called at the time, just that we were in Tasman Valley and I liked it a lot. My last post on this was, uhh, not good, so I’m here to update it (as of 10/23/2019) so you can actually plan a trip to the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks. These are the perfect addition to any South Island road trip.
Turns out, the Blue Lakes are actually kind of green now and that’s what you’ll come to on the trail first. It’s just a short walk up to the glacier view from there. I almost didn’t go all the way up to the view, but I’m so glad I did! It was definitely the best part. And I’m pretty sure we saw this first waterfall on our way in along the road.
Not only do you have views of the longest glacier in New Zealand at 23.5km, but you also have wonderful views of the sprawling Tasman Valley, towering mountains, and icebergs floating in the lake on the Tasman Glacier Walk.
What to bring on the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks
Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side. They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.
Snacks – You can just find some in a store before you go.
Sunglasses – Because well, you know, the sun.
How long do you need for the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks
About an hour is all you need for the hike. It’s an easy-moderate hike with some stairs to the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier view. There is no entrance fee. Plan two hours if you want to spend a lot of time at the top. It is 1.15 miles round-trip for the whole Tasman Glacier Walk.
Where are the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks
To get to the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks, take SH80 and turn off onto Tasman Valley Road just before Aoraki/Mount Cook Village. You’ll want to follow that for about 7km to the parking area at the end.
About the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier
Apparently Tasman Lake, the lake at the top you can see in most of these pictures, is a murky brown, but it was more icy blue/gray to me. It gets it’s color from lots of particles from glacial melt. When it is a more turquoise blue, it’s because the particles have settled to the bottom. The Blue Lakes are actually green now because they are no longer fed by the glacier, they are made up of rainwater.
Tasman Glacier is 23.5km long, and while it may be the longest glacier in New Zealand, it has shrunk dramatically since the 1990’s. For it’s entire recorded history in the 20th century, it remained a steady 28km, but betweeen 2000 and 2008 alone, it receded 3.7 km. There are boat tours available and heli skiing is available in July, August, and September. If you want another great glacier experience, make sure to visit Fox Glacier or Franz Josef Glacier.
Have you been to Tasman Valley or the Blue Lakes? Have you done a boat tour or heli skiing here? How was it?