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Hike to Rob Roy Glacier

Wanaka, New Zealand



6.2 miles

Route Type



Added by Melissa Lee

Get up before everyone else to find the slow reveal of Rob Roy Glacier, nestled between three mountain peaks in Mt Aspiring National Park. 

From wanaka, drive west up to Mt Aspiring National Park via Glendhu Bay. The drive is about 1 hour, take note of the gravel road. The roads wind through the Matukituki Valley, full of mountains and alpine lakes. 

At Rasberry Flat carpark, park your car and the hike starts! 15 minutes on flat track, you will come to a swing bridge which overlooks Rob Roy Stream. Carry on into the mountainous forest filled with ferns,shrubs and so on.  It is a pleasant hike past the stream and small waterfalls. There can be some places which are icy (we did this in winter), and be very wary of frost especially at the edges of stones.  Walk carefully even on all fours if you have to. Some areas do not get sunshine at all due to the varying heights of the mountains surrounding this track. 

Follow the meandering route round the mountain and you will slowly see the top of Rob Roy just peeping round on the opposite. As you get closer and closer, the glacier will be revealed slowly and the view gets bigger. 

At a certain junction, you will be faced with a crossroad of two paths. Take the upper one with stairs as the lower one has been affected by rockfall. Thus, the lower track has been split and its impossible to cross. 

Past the lower lookout, there will be signs of avalanche risks, for the next section of the hike till the upper lookout. Do take note of these risks as rockfalls and avalanches are known to happen after snow or rainfall.

Once you emerge from the forest, its a fairly open top track of alpine vegetation and rocks towards the glacier. The uphill is fairly mild and not unusually steep. Once you get to the lookout, the full glory of Rob Roy comes into view and spend as much time as you want looking up :) The glacier is nestled between sheer black cliffs, dotted with emerging forests. 

Its best to do this in the morning as there are not many people on the route and you would have plenty of time to enjoy the glacier by yourself. The glacier is still active and we had the opportunity to witness a tiny avalanche! The cracking sound of ice will no doubt leave you in awe. 

The hike is supposed to take about 5 hours return, we hiked in for 2.5 and returned in 1.5 hours. 

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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