Lake Matheson New Zealand is rated as one of the best spots to get clear views of Aoraki (Mt Cook). Made famous for its Reflection Lake, this spot absolutely incredible for sunrise or sunset.
Lake Matheson / Te Ara Kairaumati is a popular spot to visit near the township of Fox Glacier on the West Coast of the South Island. After hearing about the incredible mirror photography opportunities from Reflection Island, we rushed here in time for sunset.
Let’s just say we weren’t disappointed. To date, this is still one of my favourite photography spots in New Zealand.
How to Get to Matheson Lake New Zealand
Access to the Lake Matheson walking track is via a huge car park located approximately 5 KM from the Fox Glacier Township. I’ve pinned the exact location on the map below to help you find it.
Matheson Lake Walk
The Lake Matheson walk is a short 2.5M lakeside loop through lush native forests. The track is mostly flat and has several spots to stop and take photos of the incredible Mt Cook reflections.
By far the best and most popular spot to get Lake Matheson reflections of New Zealand’s tallest mountain is a spot known as reflection island.
This is a small wooden bridge that leads out to an “island” near the edge of the lake. The great thing about this spot is that it lines up perfectly with the Cook mountain range, offering exceptional mirror reflections in the calm lake waters.
Have you considered visiting the Catlins? Read this post: Best Things to do in the Catlins
Sunrise or Sunset?
After doing a little bit of research, it seems that the consensus is that sunrise at Lake Matheson provides the best lighting conditions for reflections. However, I’m going to have to disagree.
Since Lake Matheson is on New Zealand’s West Coast, the sun sets behind the lake, avoiding harsh light in your photos and lighting up Mt Cook beautifully.
More Matheson Lake Photos to Inspire Your Trip
Here are some more photos I captured around Lake Matheson New Zealand and the incredible Reflection Island at sunset. I hope they’ll inspire you to make the quick detour from Fox Glacier or the West Coast.
More Things to Do on the West Coast
Looking for more travel guides and articles for things to do on the West Coast? After visiting Lake Matheson, make sure to consider some of the other travel guides and blogs below.
If you’re looking for great hikes, make sure to check out this guide to the 31 Best Hikes in the South Island.
Enjoy and stay adventurous!
MY CAMERA AND PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT
- Mirrorless Camera: Canon R5
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- 360 Action Camera: Insta360 One X2
- Landscape Lens: Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L
- All-Round Lens: Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L
- Telephoto Lens: Canon RF 100-500mm f/f/4.5-7.1 L
- Long Action Pole: Insta360 Invisible Pole (BulletTime)
- Landscape Lens Filter: Hoya Circular Polarizer
- Camera Backpack: F-Stop Tilopa
- Favorite Photography Accessory: Peak Design Capture Clip
For a list of all my recommended photography gear (including what I use and why) check out my guide to camera gear for travel.
If you’d like to use any of the photographs on this website, please visit my licensing page to find out how. I also sell professional fine-art prints, visit my Print Store or contact me directly for customs prints of any images on We Seek Travel.
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