Worth The Walk

There are more than 3000 glaciers in the South Island of New Zealand and seeing one up close is usually on the must-see list for visitors. Rob Roy Glacier in the Mt Aspiring National Park is one that tourists can easily see – for free and in safety.

From the township of Wanaka it’s an hour’s drive to Mt Aspiring National Park, through spectacular scenery and lush farmland. The last part of the journey is a gravel track with 11 fords, several cattle grids and some very tight turns, but it’s worth the effort to reach the start of the Rob Roy Glacier walking track.

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The five kilometre track starts from the Raspberry Creek car park and meanders across the river flats to the suspension bridge across the Matukituki River.

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From there it begins to climb uphill – a gentle incline in some places and steeper elsewhere, following the Rob Roy Stream through shaded beech forests carpeted with ferns and mosses.

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It’s exciting to reach the first lookout and see the glacier at last.

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After leaving the lookout there are still of couple of kilometres of uphill walking. At the head of Rob Roy Valley the forest gives way to alpine plants which grow above the tree line, and at 1000 metres above sea level the viewing point at the end of the track has uninterrupted vistas of Mt Rob Roy and the glacier.

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The track can be very busy in Summer but even with large numbers of visitors the area around the viewing point has an air of quiet reflection. Everyone seems to appreciate the grandeur of the scene before them, and their good fortune in being able to witness this amazing natural spectacle in their own space and time.

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30 thoughts on “Worth The Walk

  1. Pingback: Worth The Walk | Home Far Away From Home

        • No, we flew into Christchurch, but we thought it best not to stay. It’s such a shame. I wish we had visited before the earthquake. We talked with people who said how terrible it has been and we saw damage even in Akaroa. Very sad.

            • There is some damage there. We couldn’t see the museum because it was closed due to damage and the old cemeteries are badly damaged. The large headstones have just toppled over and are lying around everywhere.

                  • I guess most things will be repaired or replaced eventually. My great grandparents headstone in Christchurch tumbled over. I wanted to repair it properly but because it is in a churchyard we have to wait for the church’s insurance policy to consider the situation. In the meantime the stone has been righted by the church groundsmen and made safe-ish but it would easily fall in another severe earthquake. I think perhaps we have to learn to let go and allow some ruin to be a part of our lives just as it is in Europe and many other older parts of the world.

  2. Wow! That is gorgeous. I have never been anywhere near an actual glacier. What a hike. Were you breathless? I would have been, not only at the scene, but in my lungs, too, I think, in spite of all my walking! Lovely!

    • Oh yes, there were some steep parts of the track and it was hard work, but so worth the effort to see the glacier. You should consider a trip to New Zealand as well as one to Australia. Maybe you could combine the two and see the best of both.

    • We were so glad you suggested this walk to us Maree. It was a great day with perfect weather. We couldn’t believe the number of people who were doing it with no water and no hats. I would have expired without the big bottle of water that Glen carried.

  3. Wonderful pictures! Made me want to rush into my planned summer holiday this year where I will get a glimpse of this sort of landscape. 😉

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