Earnslaw Burn Track, near Glenorchy NZ

A truly spectacular walk to a tussock basin below the Earnslaw Glacier. Highly recommended for fit walkers or those willing to spend a night there.

You get up close and personal with Mt Earnslaw and its glacier on this mammoth walk, which took my wife and me almost 10 hours. The Earnslaw Burn Track follows the true left bank of the Earnslaw Burn through beech forest up to a tussock basin below the Earnslaw Glacier. Once out of the forest the views will be enough to knock your hiking socks off, and are amongst the best we’ve seen on any day hike. They include the Earnslaw Glacier and numerous waterfalls, big fallen rocks, and we caught sight of an avalanche too. Continue reading “Earnslaw Burn Track, near Glenorchy NZ”

Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ

Mt Alfred sits alone on the edge of Mt Aspiring National Park, and the summit provides some of my favourite views in New Zealand.

Mt Alfred stands alone in one of the most picturesque spots in New Zealand. The summit provides some of the finest views in the country, with archetypal scenery north into Mt Aspiring National Park, and south over Lake Wakatipu. The Dart River runs from the former into the latter, and adds to the already starkly contrasting colours. Continue reading “Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ”

Hooker Valley Track, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park NZ

Spectacular scenery for moderate effort on this classic walk in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Take your camera!

One of New Zealand’s classic walks, the Hooker Valley Track takes you over the Hooker River and some of its tributaries on swingbridges as far as the glacial Hooker Lake. There’s dramatic alpine scenery all the way, and particularly good views of Aoraki/Mt Cook framed by mountains along the Hooker Valley, and then across Hooker Lake, which will be frozen in winter, and might have icebergs floating in it in spring/summer. And you can fit it easily into a half day. Continue reading “Hooker Valley Track, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park NZ”

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 snow melt?).

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”