• Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    11 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3800 Feet

Easy Parking
Forest
Groups
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Experience the varied terrain, flora and fauna of the remote New Zealand west coast, including rainforest, sub-alpine scrub and alpine meadows, and then enjoy fantastic views of the Franz Josef Glacier and the Southern Alps at sunrise and sunset.

From Highway 6 on the New Zealand South Island's west coast, take the Glacier Access Road for 2km to where the signposted Alex Knob track begins. There will be a obvious parking lot on the right.

The trail begins at the parking lot breaks off to the left from the Lake Wombat trail about a half-mile on. The trail then proceeds steeply uphill past the Rate and Christmas Lookouts, which are marked.

The summit is clearly marked. The trail proceeds past the summit towards Ebenezer and Lemmer Peaks, where excellent campsites can be found amongst the tussock.

Watch out for the Kea, the "cheeky" alpine parrot that will absolutely try to break into your packs to steal your food and will even fly off with your non-food related items.

As a multi-day add-on, you can follow the ridge line and use-trail from Alex Knob across Ebenezer Peak and up to Lemmer Peak.

Be sure to check the weather before you climb and, in the winter months, expect snow above the Christmas Lookout so take the appropriate gear (crampons, ice axe).

Camping is allowed all throughout Tai Poutini National Park but be sure, particularly in winter, to follow the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions Process which you can do via their website here.

Other helpful information can be found on the New Zealand Department of Conservation Alex Knob Track website.

Pack List

  • Warm clothing
  • Waterproof clothing (a necessity on the west coast)
  • Tent with rainfly that can withstand moderate winds
  • Food and other camping miscellany
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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We did this recently as a day hike in January. It took about 5 hours round trip moving at a good pace but still stopping for lunch at the top and waitig for fog to clear to get a good glimpse of the glacier. Despite a massive rain storm the day before, the trail was in good condition on the way up, although rain on the descent accumulated quickly on the trail. The only downside to this trail was the evident overuse due to it's massive popularity. There was trash on the side of the trail and I saw people taking some not-too-discreet toilet opportunities up at the top.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Josiah Roe Admin

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark. - John Muir

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