IntroductionFollowing the river and with views of notable glaciers, the West Matukituki Valley track takes you through sections of open farmland, native forest, and grassy flats before finishing at the head of the valley.
Raspberry Creek car park to Aspiring Hut
Time: 2 hr – 2 hr 30 min
Distance 9 km
A great first overnight tramp for families with younger children, the walk to Aspiring Hut is mainly over grassed farm flats with a couple of easily negotiated small bluffs that give great views up and down the valley.
The locked historic Cascade Hut managed by the New Zealand Alpine Club can be seen from the last bluff. Aspiring Hut is twenty minutes beyond this.
Aspiring Hut to Pearl Flat
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Distance: 5 km
The track enters the bush near Aspiring Hut. After 10 minutes a bridge crosses Cascade Creek, and a 1 km bush section emerges onto an open terrace leading to Shovel Flat. From the head of Shovel Flat there’s 400 m of bush before you reach Pearl Flat.
Pearl Flat to head of the valley
Time: 2 hr
Distance: 3.2 km
From the top of Pearl Flat the track enters the bush on the West Matukituki River’s true right. 10 minutes up valley from the Liverpool Swing Bridge, cross the French Ridge Swing Bridge to the beginning of the French Ridge Track.
After a climb of 100 m, a track branching off to the left sidles through beech forest before reaching open scrubby country – approximately 500 m upstream and 50 m from the river from this point is Scotts Rock Biv, a small and not entirely waterproof rock shelter marked with a cairn on top. Easy open travel leads from the biv back across the river to the head of the valley.
The route beyond the head of the valley to Bevan Col is for experienced trampers and climbers only.
The track starts at the Raspberry Creek car park, 54 km west of Wanaka on the Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Road. The last 30 km are unsealed. The last 10 km is a fine weather road only and subject to washouts and flooded creeks that can be impassable – check road conditions before you leave.
The drive takes about an hour. Transport services from Wanaka to the car park are available.
Marked with warning signage, Shovel Flat is an area where avalanche debris may reach the valley floor, camping at Shovel Flat is not recommend.
The weather can change rapidly in New Zealand. Hypothermia is a real risk even in summer. Be prepared by having warm, waterproof, windproof clothing and the appropriate footwear. Whiteout conditions caused by snow or low cloud may be present. Check the Mount Aspiring National Park weather forecast – NIWA website.
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.
Private property: This track crosses private land. Respect the landowner's livestock and property: stay on the marked track until you reach the conservation land, leave gates as you find them and use stiles where provided. Livestock can be unpredictable – keep your distance at all times/go around if necessary.
No camping until the conservation area boundary.
Landslide hazard: Aspiring Hut sits in a known landslide debris path which poses a potential hazard to people at the hut and campsite. The risk may increase following earthquake events or very heavy rainfall. A temporary closure procedure for Aspiring Hut will be activated when heavy rainfall is forecast.