NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group



Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park has a glut of glaciers, but the Haupapa/ Tasman Glacier is the most imposing: it's a stonking 23km long, 200m wide, covers 100km² and at its deepest point reaches 600m. It's estimated that one-third of New Zealand's glacial ice is locked into that Tasman Glacier. It's retreating though, so look sharp. Tasman Glacier Walk A half-hour wander from the Tasman Valley car park in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park is all it takes to net some glacial joy at the Tasman Glacier Lake. Big rewards for the easiest of strolls. The car park is 7km down Tasman Valley Road. Glacier Explorers Fancy licking a bit of pure history? Gerry Lemon has been driving Glacier Explorers boats to the Tasman Terminal Lake to spot icebergs for over a decade and still can't quite get his head around the age of this icy behemoth. Snow falling on the Tasman Glacier takes up to 500 years to make it down to the lake. “To hold a glacial crystal in your hand or find a rock that's been frozen in there for that length of time is incredible,” says Gerry. And what of a wee glacial slurp? Gerry has these tasting notes: “It's the cleanest ice you'll ever taste. There are no chemicals in it. There might be a bit of dirt in it, but it's good dirt — just a bit crunchy now and again.” Bookings are taken for September-May (the lake freezes in winter). Trips depart from the Hermitage Hotel. (03) 435 1809, glacierexplorers.com Southern Alps Guiding Charlie Hobbs has lived in Aoraki/ Mt Cook Village with wife Mary for more than 30 years. As one of New Zealand's most respected mountain and ski guides and founder of Southern Alps Guiding, there isn't an Aoraki nook or cranny of which he isn't fond. But when Charlie talks about the Tasman Glacier, his voice lifts: “That's one of my happy places. I never get sick of it. It's a great office.” He loves taking visitors heli-hiking (which he pioneered here), skiing, snow-shoeing, or crawling through exquisite nature-chiseled corridors of ice (or kayaking on the glacier lake for the more aquatically inclined). “We have that glacier covered.” Guides are an excellently obliging lot: “If people don't have any warm clothing, we have that. If they don't have any boots, we give them boots. I mean, they can turn up in their jocks.” 3 Larch Grove, Aoraki/Mt Cook Village. 0274 342 277, mtcook.com