Exploring New Zealand’s Haupapa/Tasman Glacier
Located between two of New Zealand’s highest peaks, Aoraki/Mount Cook and Rarakiroa/Mount Tasman, the Haupapa/Tasman Glacier is a huge river of ice that covers 101 square kilometers (39 square miles) and reaches 600 meters (2,000 feet) in depth. As the longest glacier found in the country, it extends 27 kilometers (17 miles) along the borders of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand’s South Island.
The area receives a massive amount of snow in the winter, which melts southward into Lake Tasman by summertime. As the ice melts on the surface of the glacier, piles of stones and rocks from within are left on the top, creating what appears to be a vast plain of rubble. Although the layer of debris drastically alters the glacial landscape, it actually helps preserve the ice beneath and slows down the glacier’s retreat—and the dynamic environment attracts many ambitious hikers and climbers all year round.