Rob Roy Glacier Walk

Published: October 18th 2008
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Monday 6th October

Beautiful morning at Glendhu Bay, near Wanaka, and we spent the first few hours doing mundane things such as washing and preparing the van. Then on the road to the Rob Roy Glacier, termed the jewel of the Mt Aspiring National Park. We travelled about 50km from where we campedat Lake Glendhu, the last 30km on a good gravel road through farm country and very scenic. About 6km from the end cars were parked at the side of a shallow stream. As the bottom looked hard and the water wasn't too deep we continued through, this occurring several times to our destination. A group of 4 hikers thumbed us down and we gave them a lift. They had left their car with the others. Three guys and a lady, from Switzerland,Germany, England and Australia. They had met up on their travels.

After preparing our lunch in the van we set off on the trail. Up through green fields, across a suspension bridge, then through a fir tree forest. Ever upwards we went, good track, even the older of our couple raised a sweat. 90 mins later we reached the end of the track where we caught up with the group. They told us we had missed an avalanche on the glacier but we were fortunate enough to see a small one later. This made lots of noise and we could see the snow flying, not the sort of thing you want to get caught up in.

While we were having our lunch we listened to the young ones planning to do the Kepler Hike in a few days time. One of them was more experienced and it was interesting to hear about the meals (porridge, muesli, pasta etc) One thing we did notice was that when one of them mentioned taking bananas he specified dried bananas as otherwise you had to carry useless waste in and useless waste out (the skins). Fresh apples were just acceptable provided you ate the cores. We have noticed the lack of rubbish in NZ, so much cleaner than back home.

By the time we returned to the car 4 hours later Judy and Rags had expended their energy and had no wish to go for anymore walks for the day. We drove back to Wanaka, 10kms out Rags noticing that the hatch for the extension cord had opened and that we had lost the plug and earth leakage device. Too late to do anything in Wanaka today (after 1700) so we stopped for the night in a DOCs campsite just out of town. Didn't sleep very well, with the rain starting not long after midnight and continuing to patter on the roof the rest of the night.

Tuesday 7th October

It was still raining when we woke up to a gloomy day and didn't stop all day. We went to the auto electrician we had been steered to yesterday who couldn't help but sent us to another place. They too didn't have exactly the part we needed but from there we rang Freedom Campervans and they sent us to their contact down the road. After much tooing and froing the plug was replaced and we were back on the road by just after 1100.

Northwards we went the rain ever there. When we reached Haast Pass we stopped and had lunch. Judy then convinced Rags to go out in the rain to climb to the lookout. 20 mins later we reached it, starting in rain, which turned to sleet, which turned to snow the higher we went. No view but great fun with the snow falling around us in the second half of the climb..

Continuing on we stopped at a salmon farm where you could feed the salmon. We bought some salmon pate to go with drinks. From here it was another 20kms or so before we stopped in a camp area at the beginning of the Copland Track. We may walk a section of this tomorrow, depending on the weather. Interestingly, we are camped closer to Mt Cook, than we were when we tried to see it from the end of Lake Pukaki, only from the other side. Its stopped raining!!

Outside we went to enjoy the scenery, we soon forgetting the idea of walking any of the Copland Track as to get to it you have to cross a raging torrent. Almost as soon as we stepped outside we were attacked by black flies. These flies only breed when the female has some animal blood to host her eggs and humans are considered as animals to them! Vicious little buggers whose sting really hurts and then becomes itchy. We headed back to the protection of the van.

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