Wanaka Walking Tracks – Rob Roy Glacier
This is one of the most popular walks for guests who are staying 2-3 days at Maple Lodge in Wanaka.
Time: 4-5 hours return. Distance: 10 km
If you have a reasonable level of fitness the Rob Roy Glacier track is one of the most popular half day walks in the Wanaka area. For those who may not have been able to see the glaciers at Fox or Franz Josef this walk is a real treat and is a surprise for many visitors who do not realize there is a glacier so close to Wanaka.
The walk starts at the entrance to the Mt Aspiring National Park - an area of spectacular alpine scenery, snowfields, glaciers, sheer rock cliffs and waterfall with an abundance of longer walks, huts and climbing opportunities.
From Wanaka we followed the road west to the car park at Raspberry Creek, a one hour drive from the town (52Km). The road is unsealed for the last 27Km but in good condition. There are a couple of fords to cross on the way, no problem to our 4WD vehicle but if you approach them carefully most cars (and drivers) will manage. At the car park there is lots of information about the Mt Aspiring Park as well as toilets and a picnic area. The drive here is beautiful – even if you don’t want or can’t manage the walk at the end of it. Parking is free of charge.
The track starts with a 20 minute valley walk to the swing bridge over the West Matukituki River. The views in the valley are stunning and you could almost expect to find a band of Hobbits walking in the distance. The bridge marks the entrance to the Rob Roy Glacier track. The swing bridge was replaced a couple of years ago and while it bounces a little it is really sturdy. After the bridge the path enters into beech forest and climbs through the gorge along the Rob Roy Stream. The shade and shelter in the beech forest is welcome on a sunny day. The path is well made and in good condition. In one place the path is waiting for repair work to be carried out. Getting through this is was a little tricky but a helping hand made it easier for my short legs. The path opens into alpine vegetation at the head of the valley, and here you start to see good views of the Rob Roy Glacier. The track here is more rocky – but not difficult.
There are two viewpoints; the lower viewpoint gives a partial view of the glacier. It’s really worth the extra 30 minutes to walk up to the second view point to see the glacier in all its glory.
The return via the same path is mostly downhill and so takes a little less time than going up.
Take plenty of water, snacks, lunch, sunnies, suncream, a hat and an extra layer in case it turns cold while you are there. Good walking shoes recommended and a pole or stick if you have one. Oh, and most important do not forget to bring your camera!