Lake Matheson

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Overview

The waters of Lake Matheson are dark brown, so on a calm day they create the truly ideal reflective surface. It is stunning and natural leaching of organic matter from the surrounding native forest floor cause the colour. Lake Matheson was formed about 14,000 years ago, when the Fox Glacier retreated from its last major advance towards the sea and left a depression that later filled with water. By happy accident, the mountains to the east are perfectly positioned to reflect in the lake. There is an easy walk that passes over the Clearwater River suspension bridge, a few minutes away from the carpark. The River drains off the lake and is a brown colour under the bridge, however a little further down it clears and lives up to its name. The brisk track continues through lush ancient, native forest that includes powerful rimu and kahikatea trees, all the way to a pontoon that extends out onto the lake. Long finned native eels flourish in the dark of Lake Matheson, which is also home to many water birds. For these reasons the lake is a traditional mahinga kai (food gathering place) for Maori. The walk from the car park takes 40 minutes to the pontoon, or 1.5 hours around the lake.
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Location & Maps

Lake Matheson Road, National Park, Westland District, West Coast (Direction)

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