Time: 3 hr 30 min - 4 hr
Distance: 14 km
Take the West Matukituki Track to Pearl Flat.
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.
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.
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.