Have you ever been somewhere so immensely breathtaking that all you could do was sit in silence and let your eyes drink in the view? This is how I felt on my walk around Lake Matheson in Glacier Country on New Zealand’s South Island.
I’d read about and seen pictures of Lake Matheson and its famous reflection in guide books and online before leaving for New Zealand, but no words or pictures I had read or seen quite did this experience justice.
We set out from the car park for the one and a half hour walk around Lake Matheson with high expectations. Equipped with my camera, my goal was to get that perfect photo of New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki (Mount Cook), reflected in the dark water of Lake Matheson.
Located not far from the Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson was formed some 14,000 years ago when the glacier retreated leaving a depression in the ground which later filled with water and become the lake you see today.
The dark colour of the lake is caused by a natural leaching of organic matter from the native forest floor that surrounds it. On a calm day, the dark surface of the lake forms the perfect canvas for the mountains to reflect on.
It’s about a 45 minute walk through the ancient native forest to get to the first of a few reflection viewing spots along the track. The forest is damp and dense with tall trees towering above. We walk in silence; the only sounds to be heard are our own footsteps and the occasional chirp and flutter of an unseen bird.
The mountains come into view as we clear the forest and walk out onto the pontoon. It’s a wonderful sight but I know from the previous research I’d done that if we keep walking it will only get better.
Leaving the pontoon we head back into the forest as the track starts to lead up slightly to its highest point and next viewing point. It’s here that I find that breathtaking moment.
The view is just a small clearing in the forest, enough to frame the mountains and the lake. It is silent and we stand at the lookout in awe of the view for a few minutes just drinking it all in. It isn’t the perfect day for the reflection with a light breeze breaking the surface of the water, but it’s good enough for me.
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For the next 10 minutes I’m snapping away with my camera trying out different settings and angles to get the perfect reflection shot.
Some other walkers arrive at the lookout, chatting to one another as they climb the stairs to the top. But as they reach the lookout, the view stuns them to silence. We slink back from the edge of the lookout to give them room to have their moment with this beauty and take a seat.
We sit in silence to rest our feet and continue to stare out at the mountains. Time just seems to slip by and 15 minutes pass in the blink of an eye.
Reluctantly we continue along the track heading back down the steps and to the lakes edge. It is here on a wooden deck over the lake that I get my best shot of the day.
We finish the loop walk around Lake Matheson inspired by the view and relaxed by the peace of the surroundings. My eagerness to get back and upload my photos to my laptop urges me forward.
Over to you!
Tell me about a place that was so immensely breathtaking that all you could do was sit in silence and let your eyes drink in the view?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
27 thoughts on “A Walk Around Lake Matheson – In Photos”
What a beautiful park! Would love to visit this place someday, will definitely keep it in mind if I ever go to this area 😉
Wow! That is a seriously stunning view. It doesn’t get better than that. It makes me want to get back to NZ.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen was Lake Louise, near Banff in Canada. It was absolutely stunning. We canoed on the green lake with the snow-capped granite peaks all around us and a bagpipe player playing Amazing Grace in the distance. It was one of those ‘aaaah’ moments.
Wow sounds incredible Sandra. Lake Louise is a somewhere I’d love to visit myself someday. Thanks for sharing.
I travelled around the south island a few years ago and unfortunately didn’t stop here. Seriously regretting that now however I did go to lake tekapo and it really took my breath away. I’d recommend it as an alternative
I’m heading back to NZ next year and Lake Tekapo is on my list this time. I saw a pic the other day and it looks stunning. Thanks for sharing.
Oh wow I do miss New Zealand following along on this series. Your photos are so beautiful and I do want to be back walking in the kiwi bush with no snakes to think about, although even with this ‘cold snap’ I wouldn’t trade the climate.
Yes! One of the reasons I love walking in NZ so much no snakes.
What a beautiful place to explore. The picture with the mountains reflecting in the lake is stunning. This is yet another reason why I have to get off my butt and visit NZ.
I’ve done this walk. It’s really beautiful but I didn’t get as good a day as you did! I like the little cafe there. Great food.
Yeah we had a coffee there. It was a nice way to end the walk.
I woukdnt get tired wandering around this beautiful place… what a stunning view of the lake and mountains
It was hard to leave that’s for sure.
wow it looks stunning – I particularly like that photo of the lake reflecting back the mountains! On my bucket list now!
Thanks Fiona. Hope you get there soon.
well, in my case, the last place that was so immensely breathtaking that all I could do was sit in silence and let my eyes drink in the view is the Meteora valley in Greece, with its Orthodox monasteries suspended in the air.
you pictures are really beautiful, and I like the idea of the ‘phototour’ 🙂
Thanks Giulia! Meteora looks amazing and i’d love to see it for myself someday. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Water, blue skies and the mountains…so beautiful. I love when the elements meet in the nature. This place looks so majestic and peaceful, I’d love to spend several days there.
Majestic is a great word to describe it!
Absolutely beautiful! I was fortunate to visit NZ in March of this year. It was some of the most beautiful landscape and best hiking I’ve ever done. I truly hope to return on day. I’ll be sure to visit Lake Matheson.
It’s definitely a place you can visit time and time again and continue to fall in love with it.
That does look like one of those breathtaking places where you just want to sit and look around. I honestly think, my favorite part of travel is not the cities, but seeing the nature around the world. This definitely looks like one of those places that should be on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Me too. Thanks for stopping by Natalie.
Some beautiful photos! New Zealand is just stunning!