10. Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson is an ideal location for the scenic picture postcard. It's a small lake ringed by trees. That means it is comparatively common to get still, flat water - as you need for reflections. It also has a view out over the tallest section of the central NZ ranges - with Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman. So it's the spot for that picture of the distant snow-capped mountains with reflection in the still water.

Lake Matheson

Well, it's ideal in that sense, but there is just one problem: It's on the west coast of NZ, and it rains a lot on the West Coast. Then when its not raining, there are often clouds backed up on the mountains. So I consider this A pretty good experience of Lake Matheson, even if it doesn't have the blue sky and visible mountain peaks.

Seeking the Lake

I was originally planning on going out to the lake around sunset after doing the glacier hike. On occasion during the time on the glacier I could see some blue sky out to the west, and that gave me some hope. Well, by the time sunset was nearing , it was all overcast and a bit rainy. Then I was feeling tired as well, so I decided there wasn't much point going out there in the evening. Instead I'd make a reasonably early start and take a look in the morning

I got up, breakfasted, and going by a reasonable hour, and made my way back to Fox township and out to Lake Matheson. From the carpark there's a bit of a walk to the lake. It's pleasant enough, but would need to be taken into consideration for any critical sunrise or sunset timing. As it was, I wasn't trying to be too ambitious, and just took the morning as it came.

Lake Matheson Walkway
Sap Drop

The drop was a bit of a curiosity to me, and it provoked me to drag out an extension tube and try a photo... or two.. or ten to get it right. I call it focus bracketing, but others may call it a machine-gun approach to photography on the off-chance of getting one right.

The track around the lake stops at a few viewing platforms. Here we see the ever-present ducks and the base of the mountains rising in the distance.

Ducks, Lake Matheson

Northern Lakes

After soaking up enough of the ambiance of Lake Matheson, I made the trip back past Franz Josef, and kept moving to the next major stop of Hokitika. This passes by a few lakes, and seeing some blue sky, I turned off to case out Lake Mapourika. It was doing all the things that Lake Matheson was supposed to be doing, but in that westerly direction there weren't the snow-capped mountain peaks to complete the picture.

Still, it was a beautiful spot.

Lake Mapourika
Lake Wahapo