Tasman Glacier Viewpoint: Short Walk with Kids in Mt Cook National Park
Tasman Glacier Viewpoint: Easy Short Walk in Mt Cook National Park
The Tasman Glacier is home to a couple of great short walks in the Mt Cook National Park. If you aren’t wanting to tackle the longer but still awesome, Hooker Valley Track (3 hours return) then a great walk for kids is the Tasman Glacier View track or the Tasman Glacier Lake. It is a great family walk and beginners hike under the beautiful Mt Cook.
Both tracks start at the end of the Tasman Valley Road. The Tasman Glacier View track (and side trip to the Blue Lakes) is a straight climb up the stairs to the viewpoint. The Tasman Glacier Lake track vers off to the right, and is a pretty flat trail around to the lakeside.
I’ve been super interested in Antarctica lately, so when I remembered the Tasman Glacier Lake had icebergs, I thought this was a fitting compromise. Kipton had been telling everyone for weeks how excited he was to see the icebergs. But then he asked me “What do icebergs eat..” And then I wondered whether he really had any idea what icebergs actually were. Either way he was excited and it was a good learning curve for everyone. Now he tells me that icebergs eat ice blocks… so maybe we aren’t that good at teaching haha.
Tasman Glacier View Track
The view track is an uphill trek, mostly up stairs to a great viewpoint over the Tasman Glacier Lake. You can see the glacier way up behind Tasman lake, and a number of awesome icebergs in the lake. There is no access to the lake from up here, so you do need to walk around. This will be one of the best places to take photos of the lake as well as the valley. If you look up to your left facing the lake, you will see Mt Cook towering over you.
The Tasman Glacier View Track is a shorter walk than the lake track, taking around 40 minutes return. It is an easy walk with kids, although there are quite a number of stairs. But it is totally doable for anyone. (with a few breathers on the way)
Side trip to the Blue Lakes
Halfway up the view track, there is a quick side trail to the Blue Lakes. Apparently its good for swimming in the summer, although I’m not sure how warm it will be. Could the kids swim in the Blue Lakes? Sure, but I’m pretty sure mine would freeze! People often skip this short walk, as you can see it from above, but we found it to be a tranquil place to stop.
Different Colours of the Water
You may be wondering why the lakes are all different colours. There is a great sign halfway up the stairs, but in essence… The green water is fresh rainwater, the greyish water is glacial melt, with tiny “rock dust” causing the grey colour, and the blue waters are glacial water where the “rock dust” has settled, or there is little of it. Each time we have visited the Tasman Glacier Lake, it has been grey. So don’t think it’s dirty, it’s really just broken up mountain rocks.
Tasman Glacier Lake Track
This easy walking track will take you to the lakefront and is also where the jetboating departs from. With kids, the walk will take about an hour return. The path is quite rocky and the trail itself isn’t particularly interesting but we really enjoyed the alternate view of the glaciers from here. There were fewer people on this trail and we were easily able to take photos without others around obstructing the view.
Other activities and walks near Mt Cook National Park
- Looking for a list of all the Mt Cook walks and hikes, click here
- Hooker Valley Track: Great family 3 hour flat walk with swingbridges, lake and mountain views.
- Kea Point Track (1 hour return)
- Sealy Tarns track (3-4 hours return) 2200 stairs, so not with young kids unless you carry them and you are fit! Great views if you can make it work.
- Mt John Summit Track, Tekapo (1.5-2 hours return) 50 minutes drive in Lake Tekapo
- More awesome things to do in Tekapo
- Omarama Clay Cliffs: awesome rock formations, 90 mins south of here