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Guide to the Reflection Lakes at Lake Matheson New Zealand

Guide to the Reflection Lakes at Lake Matheson New Zealand

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.

Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

How to Get to Matheson Lake in 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 map

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.

Lake matheson walk


Reflection Island

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.

Matheson lake new zealand, reflection island sunset

Have you considered visiting the Catlins? Read this post: Best Things to do in the Catlins

Should I Visit the Lake at 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.

Lake matheson walk


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.

Mt cook aoraki from lake matheson
Lake matheson new zealand
Lake matheson new zealand, reflection island mt cook view
Lake matheson walk with cows
Peter's lookout drive we seek travel

Tip: How to Get Around in New Zealand

Rent a car! New Zealand is very safe for motorists & driving is the best way to explore the country.

I always DiscoverCars to get the best deals. Or, if you want a camper, I've had good experiences in NZ with Spaceships & Travellers Autobarn.


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!

Guide to the reflection lakes at lake matheson new zealand
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel blogger & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 600 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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