The Hermitage

Glacier Explorers

The only tour of its kind in New Zealand and one of the only accessible glacial lakes containing icebergs in the world.

An amazing encounter with New Zealand's largest glacier, the Tasman Glacier. Explore and learn about the ever-changing glacial landscape as you journey across the terminal lake in our custom-built MAC Boats with your experienced guides. Icebergs of every shape and size periodically tear away from the face of the glacier into the rapidly growing lake. Lateral moraines rear up almost 200m to remind us of the scale and greatness that the glacier has reached in previous times.

With the effects of global warming and other climatic processes taking their toll on New Zealand glaciers, their retreat is imminent. Now approximately 27km long and 600m deep, the Tasman Glacier is melting and calving at an exponentially increasing rate. In recent years the Tasman Glacier has changed from a 'melting' to a 'calving and melting' terminus, resulting in a terminal lake that is rapidly increasing in size.

For more information about Glacier Explorers see below or visit the official website:

Video image 

Glacier Explorers Video

Experience the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand's largest with Glacier Explorers in a truly unique way!

The Trip

Depart from Mount Cook Village outside The Hermitage Hotel. The bus will take you on a pleasant trip to the Tasman Valley, followed by a 25 minute alpine walk through the National Park. Then board your MAC boat, and enjoy the ever changing face of the Tasman Glacier terminal lake and its icebergs. Allow approx 2.5 hours total per trip - (60 minutes on the lake)

Season & Departures

Glacier Explorers operates from the start of September to the end of May** - the glacier lake freezes over winter so the start of the season is subject to the lake thawing.

Daily departures are available throughout the season** at : 8am, 9:30am, 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm & 5pm (subject to appropriate weather, daylight and lake conditions).

**Daily Departures in May are limited to 2 trips per day at 9:30am & 2pm (subject to appropriate weather, daylight and lake conditions)

Adult (15+) Child (4-14)*
$170.00 $87.00

All prices are in NZD and include GST (15%)

Prices valid until 30th September 2019

*For safety reasons we cannot have children under the age of 4years old on our Glacier Explorers Tour.

What is supplied What to bring
Return transport An extra warm layer of clothing
Life jackets Camera with plenty of memory
Experienced guides Sunblock & sunglasses
An unforgettable experience Wet weather gear
Flat soled, enclosed walking shoes
Important Info

• Check in at the Activities Desk is required 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

• Due to high demand, we recommend that you pre-book this activity to avoid disappointment.

• Weather Conditions: Glacier Explorers operates in a unique, alpine environment. In the event of unfavourable weather conditions the tour may be cancelled. This decision is made by the Head Guide just before each trip based on weather and lake conditions. An alternative trip time or full refund is offered under such circumstances.

• Please be aware that icebergs on the lake occur as a result of glacial calving activity.  As this is a natural occurrence, at times the glacier is not as active meaning the quantity and size of icebergs on the lake vary.  Icebergs, calvings and rollovers cannot be guaranteed, but are a wonderful bonus for passengers lucky enough to experience them.

Important Note; Please ensure when booking that all individuals joining the Glacier Explorers trip can walk 1.5km in 25 minutes to ensure the trip can run to schedule.

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Brodie Kane from Seven Sharp reporting on the Glacier Explorers and the huge February 2013 Calving of the Tasman Glacier.