Hike the Rob Roy Glacier Track near Wanaka

Only 33 miles from Lake Wanaka lies the Rob Roy Glacier Track, one of the most scenic (and achievable!) hiking trails in this region of the South Island. With waterfalls, rock cliffs, meandering river landscapes, all ending with a spectacular glacial view at the end of the trail, it is easy to get distracted by the beauty of the Roby Roy Track. Just remind yourself the views become increasingly breathtaking the further you venture.

The last 20 miles of the road to the Rob Roy Track is on a dirt track, so prepare yourselves for a bumpy ride! However there are generous parking and toilets facilities at the end to help you prepare for the day’s hike.

The route begins in a valley, where you have to share the trail with some four-legged hikers:

After crossing the Matukituki Bridge (and getting suitably jelly legs from its wobbling) the Rob Roy Track leads into a dense forest with the aquamarine Rob Roy Stream bubbling alongside it. The trail climbs quickly, but luckily there are numerous stop points to catch your breath and admire the surroundings.

The trail follows through a gorge, and the higher the route climbs the terrain becomes rockier. Around this point you can spot waterfalls tumbling down the mountains in the distance, and various birdlife calling to one another. New Zealand’s famous kea parrots are known to visit along the Rob Roy Track, so keep an eye and ear out for their distinctive call and plumage!

The final section of the route is arguably the most stunning. Emerging from the woodland growth, the landscape transforms into alpine valley with panoramic mountain views. Just over the hill, this beautiful glacial landscape hits you square in the eyes:

The valley at the base of the glacier is the end of the trail, and an ideal stop point for lunch. With glaciers on side, waterfalls on another, not to mention kea parrots to keep you company, it is enough to make you lose track of time and stay for a while.

Rob Roy Glacier Track Summer/Spring/Autumn Pack List:

Sunscreen
Sweater/Fleece
Waterproof Coat
Waterproof Trousers
Sunglasses
Baselayers
Trousers/Shorts
Rucksack
Hat
Snacks
Lunch
Hiking boots
Hiking Socks

Precautions on the Rob Roy Track:

  • There are no food facilities nearby, so make sure you pack enough to eat
  • There are several companies that can organise a taxi service to the trail, but be realistic on the amount of time you require to complete it when agreeing a meet-up time
  • The last six miles of the road towards the Rob Roy Glacier Track is vulnerable to washouts and floods – hikers are advised to check road conditions beforehand
  • In the autumn and winter, the track can be prone to avalanches. Check the Department of Conservation website ahead of time for any warnings
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