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Mt Aspring National Park, West Matukituki Track

South Island

We set off early from Cardrona to make our way to the end of the Mt aspiring road which is about 1 hour, 1 way from Wanaka, 2/3rds of it being a gravel track with fords in it.

We arrived at raspberry creek carpark (end of the track) around 9am and set off on our tramp.

Our first hurdle was the rob Roy glacier track which is 4km uphill giving you great views of the glacier.

Once back down (8km done in total) we started the west matukituki track and headed for aspiring hut which was 9km away but on a mainly flat route following the river up the valley. The views of mountains and glaciers here is amazing and teases you for what’s to come if you venture further in.
We arrived at the hut after lunch and bagsy’d ourselves a couple of beds in the shared bunk room. We had an early night as we had been advised to start our next part of the walk early due to gale force winds coming in the afternoon. We woke in the night and went outside to use the loo and the stars were unreal! The best I have seen anywhere!

We got up at 6.30am, had some breakie and set off at 7.15am heading for French ridge hut which is 8-9km away but over 800m climb!! The first hour is okay, again following the river with a gentle climb and once you cross the river and enter the trees the steepness hits you! This wasn’t like anything I have walked in the uk or Europe or even when I did the annapurna in the Himalayas! The terrain on the track was so steep in places you had to rock climb and scramble up.
It was tough going but we took lots of stops to take in the scenery as it was unforgettable! You end up being on par with glaciers and looking down the valley at the mountain range. When we finally got the top (it took 3 hours to do 4-5km over the climb) and to the hut it was around 12pm and we were the only people there, expecting others to join us later as we had passed quite a few people on their way down from the hut. No one else came, so just to two of us in a hut 1400m in the middle of the mountains. It was amazing!
We had a nap (3 hours!) cooked tea, played games and went to bed. The winds kicked in during the evening and it was pretty scary being in a tin hut! It was so loud you woke up throughout the night but our hut kept us safe.

The DOC range had told us to expect heavy rainfall as well as the strong wind, therefore not to try and set off back down until it had passed in the afternoon. She told us this via radio which you have to switch on a certain time and check in with them as weather conditions can change that quickly it can be very dangerous to be on any of the routes at that time.
We sat out the rain and the wind until 12pm (24hours spent in the hut!) and once the weather cleared we set off on the long journey back to the carpark (about 19km in total and back down the treacherous path!). It took us around 6 hours to get back to the carpark and it was nice to do the same track a different way as we saw things we didn’t appreciate on the way up.
We were both tired and said we didn’t want to walk for a while but would definitely do another overnight tramp like this again as it was a great experience with views you just wouldn’t get anywhere else.

We then drove back through Wanaka and started our journey towards the west coast. We didn’t go far as we were tired and parked up next to the top of lake Wanaka.

Posted by Louisejhcowan 21:20 Archived in New Zealand Tagged walking views scenery mt climbing tramping aspring_hut french_ridge_hut aspring

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