IntroductionThe Roberts Point Track requires a good level of fitness. After walking one hour you will reach Hende's Hut. From there the track continues to climb on to Roberts Point where the glacier views are spectacular.
Time: 5 hr return from Alex Knob/Lake Wombat car park; or 5 hr 20 min return from glacier car park
Distance: 11 km return from Alex Knob/Lake Wombat car park; or 12.3 km return from glacier car park
Starting from the Douglas Bridge, Roberts Point Track winds up the true right of the Waiho (Franz Josef Glacier) Valley, over ice-carved rock and across many side streams to a viewpoint high above the glacial ice. In around an hour the track opens out onto ice smoothed rock outcrops at Hende's Hut. This hut is unsuitable for overnight accommodation, but it does provide a sheltered lunch spot.
The track climbs on through open scrubland to a suspension bridge crossing Rope Creek and continues steadily upwards to Roberts Point. The views from here are well worth the effort with the glacier, sheer rock walls, waterfalls and mountain peaks all visible.
There are two ways to access the Roberts Point Track. You can drive or walk south from the Franz Josef Waiau township across the Waiho River bridge and turn left onto the Glacier Access Road or Te Ara a Waiau. Drive or walk for approximately 2 km (Alex Knob/Lake Wombat car park) or 4 km (road end car park).
- Check the current track conditions and weather forecasts at the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre before starting your trip.
- Always take warm and waterproof clothing as the weather can change rapidly.
- Carry drinking water, insect repellent and sun protection at all times.
Important safety information
- This track does not provide access onto the glacier.
- Fording the streams on this track can be dangerous during and after rain – be careful, and turn back if you are unsure.
- The track requires a good level of fitness and it is slippery in places. Good boots are essential.
- Stay on the marked track - do not attempt to climb down to the main river from any point on the track.
- Never attempt to cross the Waiho River.
Crossing rivers: If you plan to cross an unbridged river, you must know how to identify an unsafe river, and where and how to cross safely. You should also be prepared for being unable to cross.
If the river is flooded, you cannot find safe entry and exit points or are unsure it’s safe, do not try to cross. Turn back or wait for the river to drop - this often takes a few hours after rain, so be ready and pack emergency shelter and extra food.
A river is unsafe if there is:
- discoloured water
- debris in the water (such as branches)
- water flowing faster than walking pace
- movement of rocks in the water you can hear
Learn more about river safety on the NZ Mountain Safety Council website.