Nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island, Mount Aspiring National Park offers outdoor enthusiasts a plethora of scenic trails and stunning vistas. Among the most renowned hiking trails in the park is Rob Roy’s Track, a captivating route that attracts nature lovers, hikers, and photographers from around the world. As we embarked on this adventurous journey, we were treated to a mesmerizingly tapestry of alpine meadows, dense beech forests, cascading waterfalls, and awe-inspiring mountain peaks.
Rob Roy’s Track begins at the gateway of the national park, near the small town of Makarora. As the journey commenced, we were immediately engulfed in the park’s natural wonders, with verdant foliage and the melodious symphony of bird songs welcoming us. The trail meanders alongside the mighty Makarora River, its crystal-clear waters carving their way through the rugged terrain. We were instantly greeted by panoramic views of snow-capped peaks and glistering glaciers.
The initial leg of the track follows a relatively gentle incline, allowing us to ease into the journey while soaking in the pristine beauty of the surroundings. Towering beech trees create a canopy overhead, providing shade and shelter from the occasional drizzle. However, we were blessed with a perfect sunny day. The melodramatic calls of native bird species such as the New Zealand Robin, kea Parrot, tūī, fantail flutter and bellbird accompanied us, adding an enchanting ambiance to the experience.
As the trail progresses, the landscape transforms, revealing sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers. A highlight of Rob Roy’s Track is the enchanting glimpse of the Rob Roy Glacier, a magnificent ice formation nestled high in the mountains. The sight of the glacier’s glistening blue ice and cascading waterfalls is truly awe-inspiring, leaving us with an indelible memory of the journey. Along the trail, there are several serene spots perfect for taking a moment to reflect and soak in the tranquillity.
The trail eventually leads to a series of swing bridges that traverse deep river gorges, adding an element of excitement and adventure. Crossing these bridges offered us a unique perspective of the untamed wilderness below, where the rushing rivers and sculpted rock formations weave their magic.
For some seeking a physical challenge, this track represents a perfect adventure. Steep ascents, stream crossings and varying levels of difficulty.
Reaching the final stretch of Rob Roy’s Track, we found ourselves rewarded with breathtaking views of the Matukituki Valley. The valley’s emerald, green meadows, dotted with vibrant wildflowers, provide a picturesque backdrop against the towering mountains. It is an ideal spot for a well-deserved rest (with some snacks), as we bask in the serenity and grandeur of their surroundings.
It’s a 52 km drive from Wanaka town centre to the start of the track of which most of it is unsealed road. It took us nearly 1.5 hours to reach the Rob Roy’s Track. Along the way we had to cross a few fords and luckily, we had a 4×4 with us to tackle the rough terrain. Would recommend checking road and weather conditions at the local information centre before heading into Mount Aspiring National Park since it is a long way from civilization.
Things to Take:
No special equipment is required to tackle the Rob Roy’s track however, winter can pose hazardous conditions as these areas often get snow. Ideal time to visit would be during Spring, Summer and Autumn. However, it’s always advisable to prepare for any weather conditions. Longer days during the Summer allow sufficient time to bask in the serenity and head back before night fall.
By Buddhima Wickramaarachchi – Melbourne