Time: 2 hr – 2 hr 30 min
Distance: 9 km
The walk to Aspiring Hut is mainly over grassed flats – leave farm gates as you find them – with a couple of easily negotiated small bluffs that give great views up and down the valley.
The historic Cascade Hut can be seen from the last bluff – Aspiring Hut is twenty minutes beyond this locked, private hut.
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.
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.
Adverse weather: The weather can change rapidly in New Zealand. Hypothermia is a real risk even in summer. Be prepared by having warm, windproof clothing and the appropriate footwear. Whiteout conditions caused by snow or low cloud may be present.
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.
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.