Roys Peak, Wanaka

So yesterday I hiked to the top of Roys Peak, located in Wanaka. It was the most incredible view! If you are travelling in the South Island, it is a absolute must do!

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Where is Wanaka?

Situated in the Otago region of the South Island and only 1.5 hours north of Queenstown, with a population of only 7’400 people – 0.163% of New Zealands total population, this small town is both a popular ski and summer resort, home to the Wanaka Lake and is the gateway to the Mount Aspiring National Park.

Who is Rob Roy?

Rob Roy is a folk hero and Scottish outlaw who joined the Jacobite rising, and when the leader Vincent Dundee was killed he went into hiding and lived under protection, handing all of his weapons over. Later in life he became a cattleman, however betrayed by his chief herder him and his family defaulted on a loan and he lost his house which was later burned down! Rob Roy was later branded an outlaw and died ages 63.

The Hike

Fitness required: High
Gradient: Steep

The hike to the 1’578m summit of Roys Peak starts in the Roys Peak car park on Mount Aspiring road, which we reached by driving the short distance from Wanaka, however hitch-hiking to the start of the track is very easy from the town centre. The track is extremely exposed and is completely uphill! It is a 16km return track, and will take between 4-6 hours depending on your level of fitness.

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I set off from Wanaka at 7:30am with Julia and Fraser and we headed to the car park. It was really cloudy at this point, and I thought it was going to be cold, but after a mere 15 minutes hiking I had changed into shorts and a vest! The sun was on us for about the first hour and a half, the track consisted of a winding track up, up and up. From the bottom of the track we couldn’t make our the peak at all, but the view got better with each step, and between the cloud coverage we got glimpses of the beautiful Lake. Accompanying us on the mountain side was numerous sheep, lambs, cows and calfs, the whole track is actually private and is shut from the 1st of October to the 10th of November each year for Lambing. 

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After a quick break to guzzle some water, eat a couple of satsumas and apples we started off again. I am never good at hiking in the morning, and this was no exception! I was tired and out of breath! The clouds begun to break and I marched the next hour to the first viewpoint on the track! The view was stunning and for the first 15 minutes we watched the clouds roll over the mountain top! Beautiful! many people had stopped at this point, wether for a well deserved rest or to eat lunch! We ate lunch and rested! There is a beautiful photo opportunity here along a short track! People queue up and very politely take it in turns walking along and posing for their photos – from the point you stand to have your photo snapped you get to see even more of the mountain and can really see the curve of the mountain!

Some people headed back down from this point, but I was really keen to get up to the top! We began back again on the same path, it didn’t look too far, but with every turn there was another. We climbed for another 45 minutes up towards the base of the final turn! From here we could see the the mast that sits at the summit we were heading to.

After around 15 minutes of the steepest part of the track, we reached the top!! Yes! and wow, was it worth it! 

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We spent some time admiring the view, and finishing our snacks off! Then we started our descent, I always struggle up hill, but down hill is even harder! It took around 2 hours and was not easy at all. Finally reaching the car park, after stumbling, jogging, and limping down, I waited for Julia and Fraser in the car, drove back to Wanaka and went for a swim in the Lake to cool down, I was exhausted!

Verdict

Bring plenty of food and even more water! Wear your most comfortable shoes! It will be hot so wear layers so you can strip down as necessary! Take your time, it isn’t a race! Enjoy the view, you deserve it! If you are considering hiking to Roys Peak but aren’t sure, I encourage you to give it a go! It is such a stunning view, and so worth every up hill step!

If you need more information on this hike or any of the local Wanaka hikes such as the Rob Roy Glacier Hike – the DOC has plenty of useful information, you can find there website here.

Love B x

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