Lake Matheson’s famous mirror views of the Southern Alps have new competition in town.
The neighbouring Lake Gault Track has re-opened after a 20-year hiatus, thanks to a partnership between Fox Glacier Community Development Society and DOC.
The 3-5hr return track cuts through mossy undergrowth and ancient podocarps to arrive at the reflective Lake Gault, with panoramic views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Southern Alps.
The project has taken over a year, with the majority of the work taken on by community volunteers.
DOC’s Owen Kilgour said the track offers a more isolated experience than the neighbouring Lake Matheson Track, which pulls in around 400,000 walkers a year.
“Once you get up there, it’s quite an immersive experience, standing at the lake edge under the podocarps,” he said.“It’s higher [than Lake Matheson] as well, so you feel closer to the mountains and you can see more of the Alps”.
Closed two decades ago following a national review of recreational opportunities, Kilgour said the track was a mission to recover in some areas.
“A lot had regrown. It was to the extent that when we were out looking for it, we would spend hours looking for a few metres of the track.”
Currently graded as a tramping track, the route is set to be upgraded to walking track standard within the next year, pending funding, Kilgour said.
The 8km return track is accessed via the Lake Matheson car park.