IntroductionAfter walking up the valley, a challenging track crosses the Matukituki River and climbs through bush to tussock slopes in the sub-alpine zone.
Raspberry Creek car park to Pearl Flat
Time: 3 hr 30 min - 4 hr
Distance: 14 km
Take the West Matukituki Track to Pearl Flat.
Pearl Flat - French Ridge Hut
Time: 2 hr 30 min - 3 hr 30 min
Distance: 2.2 km
From Pearl Flat, ford the river to the east bank or cross the Liverpool Stream swing bridge. Continue 10 min further up the valley where a second swing bridge provides access across the river. From the Pearl Flat crossing the track enters the bush and climbs steeply all the way to the ridge – with narrow cuttings and creek beds to negotiate in the subalpine zone. Then follow the gentle tussock slopes for about 1 km. The hut (1480 m) is on flattish ground, just below the normal summer snowline of around 1,500 m.
French Ridge Track is in the Matukituki Valley, an hour’s drive west from Wanaka.
- The upper part of the French Ridge Track is very exposed and can be treacherous in windy and wet or snowy weather.
- Plan properly and follow the outdoor safety code.
- Overnight trampers need a sleeping bag, cooking utensils and sufficient food, warm and waterproof clothing – including gloves and hat.
- Good fitness and equipment are important to enjoy your trip, especially as unpredictable weather patterns can mean that cold temperatures, snow, strong winds and heavy rain can occur at any time of the year. These valleys are also open in winter, but snow can make travel difficult and dangerous.
Swing bridges: There's a limit to the number people allowed on the swing bridges at any one time – be prepared to wait at each end if numbers allowed have been reached.
Be avalanche alert
This area has terrain that can produce avalanches that cross the track, usually from May into November. View avalanche information and the terrain rating for this track.