|Mt Aspiring National Park, South Island|
Rob Roy Glacier
|The West Matukituki Valley is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in New Zealand. On this half-day hike you branch away from Matukituki River, climbing through beech forest to the head of Rob Roy Valley and close-up views of Rob Roy glacier.
The trail is clearly signed from the car park. Keep to the left of the river, then cross a swing-bridge after about 1.25 miles/2 km. Soon after, pause at the bench to admire the West Matutituki Valley. The path now climbs through a beautiful gorge, with lush vegetation framing the snow-capped peak directly ahead. Continue into beech forest.
Now there is a long, steady climb through the forest. Eventually you reach the bushline and a noticeable change in vegetation. Follow Rob Roy stream into open meadow, with Rob Roy glacier forming an impressive backdrop. A little further on and you can relax in the meadow, the glacier directly ahead, admiring the numerous waterfalls plummeting down the sheer cliff faces.
For a longer hike from Raspberry Creek car park, consider a full-day return climb to Shotover Saddle for wonderful views over West Matukituki and Rob Roy Valleys. Head across the West Matukituki valley floor following the trail towards Aspiring Hut. After the waterfall near Wilsons Camp, just before Cascade Hut, look out for a ridge leading up to the saddle. There is no marked route up to the saddle so take a map and compass. The going may be hard in places, but should get easier higher up. Just below the top is a large tarn.
|Location: The southern end of the Southern Alps. The nearest town is Wanaka, 45 miles/72 km north-east of Queenstown.
Directions: Approach on Hwy 6, branching onto the 84 just outside Wanaka. From the town center, follow the Glendhu Bay Road west along the southern shore of Lake Wanaka to the Matukituki Valley.
Trailhead: Raspberry Creek car park, at the end of the road, 50 km from Wanaka. The last part of the road is unpaved, and you need to ford a couple of streams (beware of rising water levels in spring). A twice-daily transport service also runs to Raspberry Creek from Wanaka.
Length: 7 miles / 11.2 km
Trail Type: Out and back
Elevation Change: 1,625 ft / 495 m
Duration: 4 hours
Trail Condition: Well defined, easy to follow.
Features: Beech forest, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, meadow.
Climate: Be prepared for changeable conditions. Weather tends to be most stable late summer/early autumn (February/March). Snow in winter.
Accommodation: Plenty of choice in Wanaka, including motels, hostels and tent and RV camping.
Trail Notes: There is a danger of avalanche in winter and spring (June-November) – check conditions at Department of Conservation visitor center in Wanaka.
Popularity: 39% [?]