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Head north over the Richardson Mountain range from Glenorchy (as the crow flys) and you will come to the West branch of the Matukitkui river which flows south into Lake Wanaka. Just recently we ventured up the Matukituki valley to the end of the road at Raspberry Flat and took the trail to Rob Roy Glacier lookout. The track is signposted really well from Raspberry flat and not long after you start walking you come to a swing bridge over the river which directs you to the hike up the hill to the lookout – which is definitely worth the leg work.
The valley (originally calved by the Rob Roy Glacier 20,000 years ago) starts with rather steep sides and a picturesque canyon below the track. Into the beach forest and it soon enough you come to the first lookout toward the Glacier. Such a great spot for a well positioned seat. Another short walk through the reminder of the forest and you meet the alpine vegetation and spellbinding waterfalls tipping over the edge of the high cliffs in front of you – not to mention the Rob Roy Glacier sitting above them all.
Lucky enough to visit in the late spring, the glacier was regularly seen/heard to be calving Ice off its terminal face. A seemingly dramatic event due to the ‘rumble of thunder’ which will more than likely catch your attention mid conversation. If you look up and locate the ice fall fast enough you may see what looks like a temporary waterfall – which in fact is ice cascading down the steep cliffs and crashing onto the rocks below.
Fortunately there is a marked route which links the Matukituki Valley to the Dart/Rees valley on the Glenorchy side of the mountains. It’s called the Cascade saddle route and it joins the popular Rees/ Dart track. If you are planning to walk over the Cascade Saddle but don’t want the hassle of asking others to help with your car – simply call Easyhike who will drive your car from one end to the other.
This gives you independence and flexibility – not only with track transport also for that much deserved beverage on the other side waiting in your car. Less hassle, more hiking.
Visit easyhike.co.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Or here to visit the Department of Conservation (DOC) website information on Rob Roy.