Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park near Wanaka

Access to close up views of the spectacular Rob Roy Glacier for only moderate effort on this popular walk in Mt Aspiring National Park near Wanaka.

The Rob Roy Glacier Track was one of the first walks we did in New Zealand, and provides access to excellent views of the Roy Roy Glacier. There are impressive waterfalls along the way, as well as picturesque scenes in the West Matukituki Valley. The drive in is also nice, so there’s lots to recommend this walk. 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
On the drive in.

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Matukituki River West Branch on the drive in.

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park

Nevertheless, friends who walked this with us in 2014 preferred the Routeburn Track to Flats Hut. But the views at the end of this walk are pretty spectacular, so I think it’s worth doing for those alone. It’s a fairly popular track so consider doing it on a weekday or out of season.  Track notes at the end.

Rob Roy Glacier Track: The Scenery

We did this walk in 2008, 2012 and 2014, so I’ve included pictures from each of those occasions. Don’t be confused by the apparent change of weather conditions.

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
The trusty Landcruiser at the start. Apparently there have been thefts at this car park, so they recommend you take your valuables with you.

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Crossing the Matukituki River West Branch.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Matukituki River West Branch

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Matukituki River West Branch

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
We had friends with us in 2014.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Sophia having a rest.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
West Matukituki Valley.

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Some sense of scale in this shot.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
A 261m drop on this waterfall.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
The 261m high waterfall unofficially named Bridal Veil Falls. (A lot of waterfalls have that name it seems).

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Bridal Veil Falls (in 2008).

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Rob Roy Glacier

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
A close up of the glacier.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Sophia backed by the glacier.

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Lots of waterfalls running off the glacier.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
This kea looks like it is posing for a portrait painting.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Kea close up.

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
I want what you’re having.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Warm, lush colours.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
Different colours in 2008.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
On the way back.

Track Notes

Rob Roy Glacier Track, Mt Aspiring National Park
An obvious track the whole way.

The DOC website has basic information on the walk. It’s about an hour from Wanaka, and over 2 hours from Queenstown. There’s a few streams to ford on the drive in so they recommend a four wheel drive if there’s been heavy rain (or maybe glacier melt?).

Hamilton Island Circuit, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

A circuit around Hamilton Island, taking in the high point, Passage Peak, where there are views over other islands in the Whitsundays archipelago.

I’m not usually one for tropical holidays but I really enjoyed a few days on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, back in 2014. Apart from lazing about in the hotel pool we did a shortish bushwalk around the island taking in a couple of beaches and the high point Passage Peak, where there are views over nearby islands.

There are a few track options which you can view on the Hamilton Island website. The walks are not very long but they could still be tiring in hot weather.

Hamilton Island Circuit: The Scenery

Hamilton Island Circuit
Looking back towards the resort.

Hamilton Island Circuit Hamilton Island Circuit Hamilton Island Circuit

Hamilton Island Circuit
From the high point of the island, Passage Peak (234m).

Hamilton Island Circuit Hamilton Island Circuit

Hamilton Island Circuit
One of the beaches we stopped at to have a swim. Didn’t realise at the time that the potentially deadly irukandji jelly fish may have been in these waters.

Hamilton Island Circuit

Hamilton Island Circuit
Mangroves

Hamilton Island Circuit
The lorikeets were so tame you could get photos like this just with a camera phone.

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago NZ

Easy access to an arid alpine plateau on the Old Woman Range in Central Otago, with many tors & views of nearby mountains.

I realised the other day that I hadn’t posted all of my NZ walks to date. This is the walk I missed: A longish but mostly flat walk to the tops of the Old Woman Range, an arid alpine plateau near Cromwell in Central Otago. There were many tors along the way, and views of nearby mountains. Continue reading “Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago NZ”

Mutawintji National Park Circuit, NSW

There’s proper outback scenery on this circuit walk in Mutawintji National Park, about 160km outside of Broken Hill in far western NSW.

In 2009 we took a road trip to the Australian outback for the first time, stopping for a night each in Cobar and White Cliffs on our way to Broken Hill in far western NSW. Before we got to Broken Hill we stopped to do a walk in Mutawintji National Park. This was probably our first taste of proper outback scenery, (although we had done a walk in fairly arid woodland on our way from Cobar to Wilcannia). This circuit walk takes in many rocky sections in that red ochre colour the outback is famous for. Tree cover is sparse and the trees fairly stunted, and surrounding the area are flat arid plains.

Continue reading “Mutawintji National Park Circuit, NSW”

Ngiyampaa walking track, Mount Grenfell Historic Site, NSW

The Ngiyampaa walking track takes you through mallee woodland to a trig point on Mt Grenfell for views over this typically flat section of western NSW.

Not a bad walk if you are driving out west along the Barrier Highway from Sydney to Broken Hill, as we were in September 2009. The Ngiyampaa walking track climbs through mallee woodlands to a trig point on Mount Grenfell, for views over flat-as-a-pancake woodland for as far as the eye can see. Continue reading “Ngiyampaa walking track, Mount Grenfell Historic Site, NSW”

Perisher to Blue Cow, Kosciuszko National Park

A road walk from Perisher to Blue Cow that was nevertheless very scenic when we did it in wintery conditions in 2009. We also made a snowman and snowcat.

We’ve stayed in Perisher a few times on the first weekend of the ski season (the June long weekend). Apart from doing the Porcupine Rocks walk, we also walked once to Blue Cow in very wintery conditions. It’s along a road, so although it is recommended for summer, I think early winter before heavy snowfall is a more picturesque but still practical option. Continue reading “Perisher to Blue Cow, Kosciuszko National Park”

Cape Raoul Track, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania

One of Tasmania’s classic coastal walks to the tip of the Tasman Peninsula. There are spectacular dolerite cliffs and great coastal views.

We did the Cape Raoul Track on our first trip to Tasmania in 2008, and I remember it being a great walk. The deeply textured cliffs are a highlight, made up largely of dolerite columns. I lacked a wide angled lens or panorama function at the time, which would have been handy to fit these cliffs into frame. But I think the drama of the landscape comes across well enough in my photos to inspire a trip out there. I’ll certainly go again on my next trip out that way. Continue reading “Cape Raoul Track, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania”

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk, Kosciuszko National Park NSW

The Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk is the longer of two day-walk options to the summit of Australia’s highest mountain, at 2228m.

Mt Kosciuszko is Australia’s highest mountain, and as such all Australians should climb it once (I suppose). The Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk is not the best walk in the alpine region of Kosciuszko National Park, but it is nevertheless a uniquely beautiful area, so any walk here is nice. We walked it in spring of 2008 and there was still quite a bit of snow left, which made nice patterns over the landscape. If you walk it in summer there will be lots of wildflowers out, and I’ve quite liked the autumn colours in this area (see the Mt Tate Circuit).

There are other worthy options to consider starting at Charlotte Pass, such as the classic Main Range Track, which will take you past the summit anyway (but is a longer walk). There are also some semi off-track options such as Mount Sentinel and Mt Twynam, and much shorter but still scenic tracks (Mt Stilwell). Track notes at the end.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk: The Scenery

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
Sophia before we set off. As you can see its still quite chilly in late October.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
Snow Gums have attractive bark shapes and colours that appear to change with the seasons.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
A gnarled and twisted snow gum.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
Snow gums.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
A few substantial snow drifts remained.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
I really loved the snow patchwork here.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
A snow drift near the summit.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
View from the summit of Mt Kosciuszko, 2228m.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
View form the summit over mountains to the west.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
Sophia happy to have finished the walk.

Track Notes

The shortest way of getting to the summit is to take the chairlift (expensive) at Thredbo and walk from the top station: a straightforward 13km return walk from 1900m asl. At the other extreme there is a route along Hannels Spur (to the west) which takes you from about 450m of elevation, and hence you can claim to have climbed it from the bottom. Unfortunately this route is only just being cleared (2109) after years of being overgrown, and it’s probably a two day affair for most.

The Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk that we did is in the middle of these two options, a gradual 9km ascent to the summit (2228m) from Charlotte Pass (1830m), and then back the same way. It can feel like a bit of a slog as it’s along an old road that takes you close to the summit, and I find these walks along vehicle tracks a little boring. The track is obvious the whole way, but if you want more information then check out the NPWS website.

Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park, Seoul, South Korea

Located within the Seoul City boundary, Baegunbong (or Beakundae, 836m), the highest peak in Bukhansan National Park, is a spectacular lump of granite, and climbing it makes for an excellent and easily accessed day-hike. Just expect many others to join you if it’s the weekend or a holiday.

Bukhansan National Park (Dobong Section) is located in the northern suburbs of Seoul. The highest peak, Daegunbong (or Daekundae, 836m), is an enormous granite summit that provides excellent views of the surrounding area (subject to weather and pollution levels). The walk to the top gets quite adventurous as you walk steeply up the smooth granite summit, inevitably queuing with many others on the narrow and precipitous sections if you do it on a weekend or holiday (as I did). But despite the crowds it was an excellent walk. Continue reading “Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park, Seoul, South Korea”