Today, we experienced the ‘wow’ factor – a personalised tour of the Rob Roy Glacier Walk – Mt Aspiring National Park. An hour’s scenic drive into the Mt Aspiring National Park gave us a taste of what was to come.
Much of this drive is on back country, gravelled road and another world entirely. There was just one other couple on the tour. Like us, Bob and Sue from Yorkshire England were enthralled by the scenery. After a brief toilet stop at the car-park, we took a short walk to the beautiful swing-bridge crossing the Matukituki River.
The strength of a good eco tour, lies in the knowledge of its guide. Eco tours usually attract seasoned travellers interested in conservation. On this tour, we chose Eco Wanaka Adventures. Al was a true adventurer but was relaxed about time-keeping with frequent stops at points of interest. Here’s me and Al, the official portrait:
That photo should give you some idea of how steep the walk can be in parts. A good level of fitness level is required, but there are plenty of stops on the way.
You won’t notice an increase in your heartbeat until the first real close-up of this spectacular mountain glacier.
Rob Roy Glacier Walk – Mt Aspiring National Park
There was plenty to see before getting the big close-up. The beautiful Matukituki River lay beneath us. It’s milky green waters frothed and churned, cascading over giant boulders.
I’m sure the purity of the mountain air kept me going for the last half hour up to the Rob Roy Glacier.
I couldn’t resist touching the soft green moss growing in this alpine forest. As we were overtaken by a group the independent hikers trying to break the speed record, I wondered how much they would really notice. Would they they remember the intricate beauty of this fern?
Al promised us a closer closer view around each corner. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did! When the gob-smacking moment arrived, we were all stunned.
Believe me, this photo does not do it justice. A full and wider view would reveal five waterfalls shrouding the rocks in misty spray. The glacier is much bigger than it looks here and sparkles under a full sun. At our carefully chosen picnic stop, Al unpacked a generous lunch of sandwiches, muffins, biscuits, fruit, juices, coffee and tea. Magic!
Anywhere else in the world, you’d be hiking several days to see all this. Here, it takes one full day! What made this guided walk so special? Al, our guide and the fabulous couple we shared the day with. But most of all, the prize goes to the spectacular scenery that surrounded us. It was a privilege.