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Day walks

Unforgettable Lake Matheson & Lake Gault day walk places to go

  • 2 minutes

West Coast, South Island

Attractions and things to do

One of the ultimate short walks is Lake Matheson yet the longer 4.4 km lake circuit is equally rewarding. Take in the views of the lake as the still water reflects the mood of the weather with scudding clouds mirrored in its inky depths. Atmospheric, unpredictable and always beautiful.

Lake Matheson Sunrise, New Zealand
Lake Matheson Sunrise


  • Glacier Country day walk around Lake Matheson
  • Visit Lake Matheson cafe for a leisurely lunch
  • Linger at three viewpoints around the lake each offering a different perspective

Lake Matheson Cafe is carefully designed to minimise the impact of a building with its low lines, use of timber and plantings enhancing a glorious walk with the presence of an award winning cafe offering a contemporary fusion menu. There is a small well stocked gift shop.

Winding through ancient native rainforest, the walkway has three viewing platforms along the journey, providing unprecedented views. The full circuit around the lake takes approximately 1 – 1 ½ hours. However, a shorter version with a short walk to Jetty View Point. This takes approximately 30 minutes and is graded for wheelchair access. Check Lake Matheson / Te Ara Kairaumati Walk for further details.

For the experienced walker who needs to stretch the legs, LAKE GAULT WALKWAY is the answer. The Lake Gault walkway is a great addition to Lake Matheson climbing through mature podocarp forest finishing at Lake Gault.  Spectacular views of Aoraki/Mt Cook, Mt Tasman and the Southern Alps mountain peaks are the reward while you relax at scenic Lake Gault. Check Lake Gault Track for further details.

  • Length: 8 km (return)
  • Start / Finish: Various according to chosen option(s), check Department of Conservation for advice.


Early morning before the day’s heat creates clouds obscuring the sun.

Note: Watercraft are not permitted on Lake Matheson.

This walk is part of the Unforgettable walks in New Zealand series.

  • No boating.
  • No kayaking/canoeing
Matheson Lake New Zealand on a still morning with mist rising and Mount Cook in the background
Matheson Lake


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