Recently we were lucky enough to get a flight to the Tasman Glacier which was absolutely amazing!! If you are in the Mount Cook area and get the chance, budget and weather permitting, take the scenic flight. The scenery is breathtaking and the sheer scale of the glacier is incredible.
We landed near the top of the glacier and were able to leave the plane and walk around the area. It was early March and very warm with no wind, even at that height. It’s so still up there, no noise except for the occasional distant avalanche. Not being skiers we returned by plane for an equally exhilarating flight back. We would highly recommend this flight.
The Tasman Glacier is the largest of several glaciers which flow south and east towards the Mackenzie Basin from the Southern Alps in New Zealand’s South Island. It is New Zealand’s longest glacier.
At 27 kilometres (17 mi) in length, and as much as 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) wide and 600 metres (2,000 ft) thick, and lies entirely within the borders of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. The glacier covers an area of 101 square kilometres (39 sq miles) and starts at a height of 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) above sea level. The Tasman flows south from the southern slopes of the Minarets peak, along the eastern flank of New Zealand’s two highest mountains, Mount Tasman and its higher southern neighbour Aoraki Mount Cook.
Although its upper reaches are snow-covered, some rocks carried by the glacier are exposed, and the lower glacier is entirely rock-covered. It is almost met near its end by the meltwater of the Murchison Glacier, which approaches from the northeast before turning to flow beside the Tasman Glacier outside the moraine wall.
The waters from both these glaciers pool at the end of the glacier in Lake Tasman, before flowing south to in the wide valley of the Tasman River, whose braided streams flow south into Lake Pukaki. They eventually flow into the Waitaki River and to the Pacific Ocean north of Oamaru.