New Zealand is a hiker’s paradise. If you’re wondering about things to do in Wanaka, this is it! Rob Roy Glacier Track is a phenomenal hike.
With an extensive network of well-maintained tracks throughout the country, it’s all about “tramping” in New Zealand…multi-day backpack trips between strategically located alpine huts.
You’re not a hardcore backpacker? No worries! It’s easy to enjoy an incredibly scenic day here as we did recently.
Update October 2020: Sadly, Rob Roy Glacier track is closed as a section of the track is at risk for collapse. Check updates from the Mount Aspiring Park website here.
Rob Roy Glacier Track
The Rob Roy Glacier Track hike begins in the West Matukituki Valley at the gateway to the gorgeous Mount Aspiring National Park, which is located in the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand, just north of Fiordland.
It’s one of the many New Zealand conservation areas that were filming locations for Lord of the Rings…when Gandalf rides up to Isengaard in Nan Curunir. It’s just a one hour drive north, along a stretch of unpaved gravely road at the end.
It was the most stunning, scenic hike of my life. Here’s my review…
It was a walk through a wonderland of crystal clear rivers, unbroken Alpine forests, and snow-capped mountain peaks. Across quaint swing bridges and past grazing sheep.
We watched a calf nurse while mama cow drank from a stream.
And were stopped briefly at the outset while we waited for this crowd to clear the track….
And these guys.
Then we crossed the Rob Roy stream…
via this swinging bridge into a dense beech forest.
We listened to trickling glacial streams and the wily Kea birds calling as we climbed, climbed, climbed past subalpine fields and sheer valley walls until we finally rounded a bend to see this: Rob Roy Glacier!
Wowza. What a pay-off!
I’m happy to say it was downhill on the way back. And this may be the most welcome bench I’ve ever encountered.
Total hike: 10km/6.2 miles, 3 to 4 hours
If you go:
Te Wahipounamu (South West New Zealand), one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere, was designated as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO in 1990.
The Department of Conservation manages four alpine huts in this valley. For complete maps and details about multi-day tramping in Mount Aspiring National Park, see here.
For more details about a day hike on the Rob Roy Glacier Track, you’ll find information here.
Looking for other amazing experiences on New Zealand’s scenic South Island? Check out my review of our incredible Doubtful Sound overnight cruise or consider a multi-day hike on the Routeburn Track. Don’t miss Mount Cook National Park!
And finally, find more South Island destination inspiration in this travel photo diary.
Read more here: