Tasman Glacier (Haupapa)
At 18 miles (29 kilometers) long and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) wide, the Tasman Glacier dominates the landscape beneath Aoraki/Mount Cook. It’s also living on borrowed time: Due to climate change, the glacier is melting at a rate of 500–900 yards (457–823 meters) a year; it might not be long before the glacier’s snow-covered peaks are just a memory.
You can experience the glacier and its sights in a number of ways. Join a boat cruise over Lake Tasman and sail past the towering slope of rock and ice, take a helicopter from Aoraki/Mount Cook Village and hike the glacier-top on foot, ride an Argo up Tasman Valley to the glacier lookout, or take a short walk from Blue Lakes parking lot to a viewing point on the edge of the lake.
Recent reviews from experiences in Mount Cook
Things to Know Before You Go
The Tasman Glacier is a must for outdoors enthusiasts and all first-time visitors to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.
The park has walking tracks for all skill and fitness levels—the Blue Lakes trail is good for beginners, while the up-glacier hikes are recommended for more seasoned hikers.
Other glaciers in the national park surround Tasman Glacier, so explore while you’re in the region.
How to Get There
Lake Tasman is situated in the middle of the Mackenzie District, a half-day’s drive southwest from Christchurch or north from Queenstown. The Cook Connection shuttle service is available from late spring to late fall and drops you in the national park from Twizel or Tekapo.
When to Get There
Lake Tasman sometimes freezes over during bitter South Island winters, so if you’re planning on seeing the glacier from the water, your best bet is to visit in late spring or early fall. If you’re more interested in experiencing a winter wonderland at the top of the glacier, snowfall typically occurs during winter.
Ski the Glacier
Some guided tour operators offer ski excursions onto Tasman Glacier, giving you the chance to cut across the slopes on some of New Zealand’s most astonishing ski runs. These ski excursions typically operate during the winter and early spring.