The Rob Roy Glacier (above) is an enjoyable and rewarding hike. The glacier is located in the Rob Roy Valley in the Mount Aspiring National Park.
To start the trek you need to drive for about an hour from Wanaka and park in the Raspberry Creek car park (below). The car park location can be found on Google Maps, although as there is only one road there you can’t really go wrong! Do be prepared for 30 km of unsealed road, i.e. dust, gravel… and you may have to wait for several hundred of the famous NZ sheep to cross the road. There are also about 9 fords to cross so it is a slow journey and may well take longer than an hour…
The car park is free and there are restroom facilities available. There is also a sink with a sign which says something like “This water is drinkable but you may wish to boil it first” so take plenty of water and snacks with you!
There is a noticeboard with signs showing you where the track starts. There are several options and longer multi day treks are possible throughout the Aspiring National Park from here too. You walk adjacent to a sparkling turquoise stream (above) for about 15 minutes until you get to a bridge (below).
Once you cross the bridge the rest of the walk right through to both glacier viewing points is mostly through the forest and therefore in the shade. The walk is promoted as being easy although as it is pretty much uphill from the bridge to both viewing points we would say more easy to moderate! And due to the uneven path and various obstacles it is recommended that walking boots are worn rather than sandals or plimsolls.
As mentioned, notices state there is an upper level and a lower level track to view the glacier. This means that there is one single track to the lower level (view as above) and if you wish to see the glacier from the higher level you have an additional 30 minutes uphill walk continuing from the lower track. The upper level is quite steep to start with but soon levels out into a more picturesque path with flowers and panoramic views (below). You are also much closer to the stream and can go right to the edge if you wish.
There is a sense of relief when you reach the top i.e. the upper glacier viewing point. A large group of hikers were there at the same time (above). This is a popular walk so you will most likely meet a few other trekkers along the way. The return walk back along the same path was much quicker and we were back at the car park in less than an hour.