There's not enough superlatives to describe the Rob Roy Glacier Track, especially on a stunning sunny day like we were lucky enough to experience. If you're in Wanaka and are looking for a trail that is spectacular and achievable for almost everyone, then don't miss the Rob Roy Glacier track.
The trail is about 13km (though the sign says 10km, our Apple Watch said otherwise as it died a few kilometres before the end of the track) but give yourself plenty of time as the views are stunning and it's not a walk you'll want to rush.
Apple Watch Says
Wanaka to Raspberry Creek Car Park
The drive to Raspberry Creek Car Park (where the trail begins) from Wanaka starts off on nicely sealed roads for the first 25km. After that it's unsealed dirt road for about 30-40km all the way to the start. The road is in reasonable condition and we drove at a steady 60kmph all the way through. The car park is at the very end of the road and as far as you can drive.
However, there are several fords which have to be crossed. Check the weather before you arrive as these can get really high after some rain and may make it hard to cross without a 4WD.
The drive could be a tourist attraction in itself as you cruise through the valleys past stunning mountain ranges and rivers. It can be hard to concentrate on the road as you're surrounded by incredible views on all sides.
Raspberry Creek Car Park
From Raspberry Creek Car Park, the Rob Roy Glacier Trail is clearly marked. The car park has toilets and running water, so you can get yourself set for the walk from here. There were also some very persistent bees who loved following us no matter where we went!
The reason you're here is obvious from the start as you walk alongside the river and get glimpses of Rob Roy Glacier up ahead. It seems so far away, but eventually this is where you'll be heading to (well, the foot of the mountain it sits on).
The trail begins to go uphill very gradually before getting to this beautifully situated suspension bridge.
The uphill climb
After the bridge, the track heads into a really picturesque forest and is flat for a little longer before opening to a clearing with one of the best bench views you'll get.
From here the trail begins winding upwards. It's not too steep, but it climbs fairly steadily until the end of the track. There are brief parts which flatten and go downhill, but essentially you'll be climbing from the second kilometre to the end.
The walk at this point turns away from the river and your views will consist of forest with fleeting glimpses of glacier, mountain, river and waterfalls (does it get much better?!).
Rob Roy Glacier Track Lower and Upper Viewpoints
After approximately 4.2km you'll reach the Lower Viewpoint. Although the view is good from here, don't make this your final stop! The views to come are even better and only another 1km further on.
It's a good place for a breather, but trust us, keep going! You've come this far! From here the trail isn't so steep, but it does have sections which have become rubble. They're very short, but require a bit more care.
Soon the track leaves the forest and passes alongside the river again and the stellar view comes into sight. There's a great side path where you can get very close to the river for some great shots, which we had all to ourselves.
Eventually the path ends at a huge clearing where you can see the glacier, cliff face and 11 waterfalls (so long as there's been enough rain or heat to create them!).
The Upper Viewpoint is a fantastic place to stop for a while and take it all in. There are few places in the world I have seen with views like this and it's a great place to see some of New Zealand's birdlife (we were sadly not lucky enough to see any Keas, but have heard it's a good spot).
The hardest part of the track is forcing yourself to go back home! It really did blow our minds.
Rob Roy Glacier Track Elevation
Although the track has been described as easy, we were surprised to find that the elevation was 522m over 5km! It certainly didn't feel it, but you should probably be aware that although the Rob Roy Glacier Track elevation is gradual, it adds up!
The track condition is very good, apart from a couple of rubble sections which are very short. It's a well trodden dirt path and it's well marked with little orange arrows along the way.
Whatever you do, don't miss this track, it is one of the most beautiful half day walks we have ever walked.
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Have you been to Wanaka? Have you walked to Rob Roy Glacier? Let us know in the comments below!