Hike to see New Zealand’s longest glaciers

When we stopped at the Tasman Glaciers parking lot, the sign by the entrance read “15 min walk”. After a long 3+ hours hike to the Hooker Lake, we were bone-weary and 15 min walk to see the Tasman Glaciers, New Zealand’s longest glaciers didn’t seem like a bad deal at all.

However, what we didn’t realize was that the hike was through a steep flight of stairs. We slowly trudged up the hill with heavy breaths and sore legs. “What did we get ourselves into?” we grumbled.

On the way up to see the Tasman Glaciers

On the way up, we got aerial views of the Blue Lakes and the panoramic views of the valley behind. When the Blue Lakes, now looking green, were first formed, they were fed by the Tasman glaciers, so they were turquoise blue in color, hence the name “Blue Lakes”. However, over the course of several years, the Tasman Glaciers have shrunk and retreated, so the meltwater from the glaciers don’t flow into the Blue Lakes anymore. The lake is now fed by the rainwater, supporting the growth of algae, causing the lake to appear green.

Blue Lakes (it is green because it is fed by rainwater and has a lot of algae, giving it the green color you now see)

We walked a little further up the hill and then suddenly gorgeous views of the Tasman Lake and Tasman Glaciers opened up. The glaciers are retreating rapidly and they are expected to retreat another 20 km by 2027. Can’t imagine what that’d be like, considering that from the current viewpoint, one can hardly see the glaciers because they are already so far away.

View of the Tasman Lake and Tasman Glaciers far behind (they are retreating so rapidly)
View of the valley from the top of the hill

After taking in the gorgeous views, we got down quickly and we were off to Wanaka.

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