Tasman Glacier Boat Trip: Review + Ultimate Guide 

Last Updated on June 18, 2022 by ashleighsatlas

Are you looking for a Tasman Glacier boat trip review? Are you thinking of doing the Glacier Explorers boat trip in Mt Cook

The Lake Tasman Glacier boat cruise is one of my favourite things I’ve done in Mt Cook (and I’ve done basically everything in Mount Cook). 

Keep reading for my Ultimate Guide to the Tasman Glacier boat trip:

  • Tasman Glacier boat trip review 
  • FAQ + top tips
  • How to get there
  • Best Mt Cook Accommodation 
  • Best things to do nearby 

RELATED: Ultimate Mt Cook Travel Guide, 7 Best Mount Cook Walks, 9 Best Things to Do In Mt Cook



loved the Lake Tasman Glacier boat cruise, and would 100% recommend it. 

I’ve done every popular walk and activity in Mt Cook, and the Glacier Explorers boat trip is one of the best things I’ve done in Mt Cook

If you just go to the Tasman Glacier viewpoint, you are quite far away from the glacier and can’t see much. You get much closer to the Tasman Glacier on the boat trip. You can often see and hear ice falling into the Tasman Lake (which is why you can’t get too close). 

The highlight of the trip was the icebergs. While you can see them from a distance on the Tasman Glacier Walk, you get really close to them on the boat. You can also sometimes see icebergs flipping over, which is an incredible experience. 

The guides also tell you lots of interesting facts about Tasman Glacier. 

(A little caveat: There are often icebergs on Tasman Lake, but that can’t be guaranteed). 


What is the best Tasman Glacier boat company?

There is only one company that does Lake Tasman Glacier boat cruises, the Glacier Explorers

Can you kayak on Tasman Glacier?

Yes, you can also do a Tasman Glacier kayak trip. It leaves from the same place as the boat trip. I’m sure glacier kayaking would be fun too, but I preferred the less-active boat option.  

How much does the Glacier Explorers boat trip cost?

The Glacier Explorers boat trip is $149 for adults (over 15), $75 for kids (4-14), and $339 for a family (2 adults and 2 kids). 

How long to allow for Tasman Glacier boat trip?

You should allow 2.5 hours for the Tasman Glacier boat trip. You will have around one hour on the lake. 

The rest of the time allows for the bus to drive you to the Tasman Glacier carpark, and the walk from the carpark to where the boat launches on the Tasman Lake Track (25 minutes/1.5km each way). 

When is the best time to do the Tasman Glacier boat cruise?

The best time to do the Tasman Glacier boat trip is October to May. The Glacier Explorers boat trip does not run from June to September, because the Tasman Lake freezes.  

Can you do the Lake Tasman Glacier boat cruise in Winter?

No, the Glacier Explorers Mt Cook trip does not run in Winter. It is closed from June to September because the Tasman Lake freezes. 

Will you see icebergs on the Tasman Glacier boat trip? 

There are often icebergs on the Tasman Lake, even in Summer, but unfortunately it can’t be guaranteed. I’ve been to Tasman Lake in January and May and both times I saw icebergs. 

How close do you get to the Tasman Glacier?

The boat gets quite close to Tasman Glacier, but obviously can’t get too close for safety reasons in case ice falls off. It gets much closer and has a far better viewpoint than the Tasman Glacier Walk.

If you want to get really close to Tasman Glacier, I recommend also going to the Ball Hut Road viewpoint and doing a Tasman Glacier scenic helicopter flight

What should you wear on the Glacier Explorers Mt Cook trip?

It’s a glacial lake, so make sure you wear lots of warm layers and a waterproof jacket. 

How difficult is the walk to the boat? 

You will get a bus to the Tasman Glacier carpark. It’s then a short walk from the carpark to the jetty where the boat launches from on the Tasman Glacier River walk (1.5km/25 minutes each way). 

It’s an easy flat walk on a well-formed path. Most people will have no difficulty doing it. 

Can you do a boat cruise on Hooker Lake?

No, there are only boat cruises on Tasman Lake. 


Meet at the Hermitage Hotel, which is in the Mt Cook Village. They will then take you in a bus to the Tasman Glacier Carpark, which is a short drive from the village. From there, it’s a short walk to the Tasman Glacier jetty where the boat launches (1.5km/25 minutes each way). 

There is no public transport to Mt Cook, so the easiest way of getting there is by car. If you need a rental car, I recommend using rentalcars.com, which is the website I always use. It’s like Skyscanner and compares all the different rental car companies to show you the best deal. 

The nearest airports are Queenstown and Christchurch.



I recommend staying in the Mt Cook Village. The accommodation is very expensive and there are only a few options, but it’s worth it. 

The weather in Mt Cook is very changeable, so it’s worth staying in the village so you can see when there is a break in the weather (and have somewhere to hang out when you’re waiting for the clouds to leave). There are also beautiful views of Mt Cook from the village. 

There are also a few beautiful luxury boutique hotels with amazing views of Lake Pukaki and Mt Cook. Just be aware they are about a 40-minute drive from Mt Cook Village. 

You could also stay in Twizel or Lake Tekapo. Personally I don’t love Twizel (it’s a fairly uncharming small town), but Lake Tekapo is one of my favourite places in New Zealand

Looking for the best places to stay in Mt Cook?

  • Hermitage HotelThe Hermitage Hotel is the best and most luxurious place to stay in the Mt Cook Village, and also has incredible food. 
  • Aoraki Court MotelI stayed here on my last trip, because the room had a spa bath and I wanted cooking facilities. It was a lovely modern apartment, and I would definitely recommend it and stay again. It’s in the Mt Cook Village.
  • Mt Cook Lakeside RetreatBeautiful luxury boutique hotel on Lake Pukaki. 
  • Lakestone Lodge TekapoAnother beautiful luxury boutique hotel on Lake Pukaki. 


Looking for other things to do in Mt Cook? Read my guides to find the best things to add to your bucket list:

Planning a trip to other places in the South Island? Read my Ultimate Destination Guides for: 



Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. This means that – at no extra cost to you – I earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend things I love. It helps support my dreams of becoming a fulltime travel blogger. Thanks for the support!

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