Roberts Point Track – an Insane Walk in the Wilderness

mountain views roberts point track

Sometimes I feel I just need to pinch myself  – is this really where I’m lucky enough to live! No need to jump on a plane to other parts of the world or even travel to other parts of our own country – so much beauty and diversity right here in our region of NZ – West Coast of the Southern Alps.

clear waters roberts point track

We’re doing one of the hikes in Franz Josef – the namesake town for the glacier Franz Josef Glacier. The hike well the hike is a no-brainer, the name says it all – Roberts Point track (Jan and Stephen Roberts…..) – a walk in our honour (sounds good!) just has to be done doesn’t it!

warning signs start roberts point track

After being closed for a few years due to major rock fall and slips it was finally reopened earlier in the year and put onto our “to do” list. With a meeting in Franz Josef we headed down a day earlier to give us time to do this hike. Note I’m saying hike here not walk. The recommended time is 5.5 hours return and experienced “trampers” only. This wasn’t going to be your run of the mill walk in the bush.

petes pool track franz Josef

Awakening to a frosty morning but with black cloud looming and the forecast for possible rain we were dressed for everything – wrapped up warm and for the possible eventuality of rain.

Petes Pool roberts point track

Our adventure started sedately with a walk through the bush to Pete’s Pool – a small kettle lake often giving lovely reflections of Franz Josef Glacier. Not today though with spits of rain creating just enough ripple and lots of low misty cloud. Still beautiful though  – very atmospheric and always a worthwhile stop.

crossing the waiho river franz Josef

Onwards as we had a big day ahead of us and down to our first swing-bridge that would lead us to the official start of Roberts Point track.

franz josef glacier valley views

The bridge takes us over the Waiho River and affords lovely views up the valley floor towards the glacier.

forest of green roberts point track

sea of green roberts point track

moss covered trail roberts point track

The first section of the trail is through some stunning West Coast native forest (of course it is I hear you say…..) – more of those green greens we love so much when out walking in our bush.

rock fall pass roberts point track

With occasional rocky creek beds to negotiate and huts appearing out of nowhere it is a stunning walk of contrasts.

hut roberts point track

Then my wording changes but only for a minute and then it pretty much doesn’t change for the rest of our hike – insane, insane, insane – honestly the beauty and trail now just gets insane.

crossing the long swingbridge roberts point track

roberts point track swingbridge

“insane” with the 111 metre swing-bridge going across the valley (yes you read that right)………

descending the wooden stairs franz josef track

Stairway to heaven Roberts Point track

and if that wasn’t enough – how about “insane”, “insane” with the wooden steps hugging the rock face……..

franz josef valley views from atop

cliff views roberts point track

enjoying the mountain views roberts point track

“crazy insane” rocky mountain views……….

roberts point track in the rocks

climbing the rockface roberts point track

atop of the world roberts point track

only to be topped with “super insane”  surrounding snow-capped mountains………

franz josef glacier views roberts point track


ending with “breath-takingly insane” views of the Franz Josef glacier.  As you can see we soon ditched the cool weather and rain gear as we had a stunning day up the valley and at the glacier.

This was a real walk in the wilderness and it seems with every new adventure we find a new favourite walk – our latest Roberts Point Track – insane and loved it!  Ouch – just pinched myself and nope I really do live here 🙂

Jan and Stephen (Roberts!) run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They love the region they live in – West Coast of the Southern Alps and like nothing better than getting out and exploring it’s vast beauty.


About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
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37 Responses to Roberts Point Track – an Insane Walk in the Wilderness

  1. pat2727 says:

    More from New Zealand.  This area reminds me a lot of the Pacific Northwest.  When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong; when he is cheerful, everything seems right!Proverbs 15:15 (The Living Bible)

    From: coastingnz To: Sent: Friday, July 31, 2015 9:20 PM Subject: [New post] Roberts Point Track – an Insane Walk in the Wilderness #yiv2284738800 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2284738800 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2284738800 a.yiv2284738800primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2284738800 a.yiv2284738800primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2284738800 a.yiv2284738800primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2284738800 a.yiv2284738800primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2284738800 | coastingnz posted: “Sometimes I feel I just need to pinch myself  – is this really where I’m lucky enough to live! No need to jump on a plane to other parts of the world or even travel to other parts of our own country – so much beauty and diversity right here in our regio” | |


  2. Buschbaer1 says:

    WoW, WoW and Wow


  3. Michael Nees says:

    You lucky fellows…. I am getting itchy feet just seeing your stunning track pictures. I bet it was chilly but worth every bit of it!


  4. Mama says:

    looks absolutely breathtaking!!!!! with Stephen’s superb photoghraphy I feel I’m right there with you (sure wish I was)…


  5. Jane says:

    Ok, so this is my new favourite walk also…until your next post! Stunning. New Zealand has to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world. 🙂


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    • coastingnz says:

      Agreed can be very touristy but doesn’t take long to escape into a bush walk and be surrounded by nature again. I think sometimes too much emphasis is put on the glacier when it is the surrounding area that appeals to us.


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  9. Beautiful hike! How much time did you take to do the hike? It says 5 hours, but my experience has been that published hike times are longer than what it would actually take. We’re coming in on the Tranzalpine train, so the earliest we might hit the trailhead is at 3:30 pm. 5 hours means finishing at 8:30 pm. Sunset should be around 9:30 pm so I think we’ll be good, but if we can finish it up in 4 hours that would be much better. Is that just nuts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • coastingnz says:

      Hi Jeremy It is an amazing hike. It took us 5 hours – lots of photo stops along the way. Advanced hikers only, not an easy day trip. Personally I wouldn’t be going late afternoon. I’m assuming you’ve only got the one night at Franz Josef and then head further south? I’d get up early next morning and go then. That way if you strike any issues along the way you have more time up your sleeve and no chance of coming out on dark. Also I don’t know that I’d go right to the end – we found the last 1/2 hour or so not that interesting compared to the rest of it. The photos that show me on the rock face looking out at the views is the point I’d turn around. From there it kind of meanders around the back of the views and you’re in the bush just climbing rocks – hard on the knees coming back down. If you just did the rock face – and you’ll know where I mean, I would say that would be 4 hours return. Again though – is advertised for experienced hikers only, lots of opportunities to “fall” or slip so extreme caution is required. In saying that we loved it!


      • Which picture is that, “crazy insane” rocky mountain views? Can you see the glacier at that point pretty well? or do you need to go to the end to see the glacier? This is really the only day we have because the next day, we do an all day Fox Glacier on the Ice tour. We figure it’ll be matched with the least fit, so it won’t be that strenuous (recovery hike compared to Roberts Park at top speed). The “advanced” hiker thing to me has always been confusing. We’ve done all long hikes at Yosemite like Half-Dome, Cloud’s Rest, lots of Utah hiking as well so are we “advanced”? I’ve done a few triathalons, but my wife is the really fit one. We don’t really rock climb, but we’ve done alot of hiking. And we have 3 months to train. 🙂 Anyway, was this done in August or just posted in August. We’ll be going December-January timeframe.


  10. coastingnz says:

    Basically that entire last set of photos on the smoother rocks is as far as I’d recommend you go – you’ll still get the view of the glaicer. The glacier has receded so much that the view from the “lookout” isn’t actually that good any more. By the sounds of your adventures you’ll both be fine. There will be places you just need to take caution, crossing slips etc. Not really a matter of fitness more not taking silly chances and knowing own abilities. They had couple of people slip couple of years back who just had no idea what they were doing. We did this in July last year (or August?) our winter anyway so we had wet slippery rocks to contend with – hopefully come Dec/Jan you won’t have that! But then with our weather you just never know – come prepared for anything and everything – that typical hiking theory. I’m sure you’ll love it – and incidentally if you’re doing the Ice tour then this will be a good warm up for it……. super jealous now!


  11. Wow! I thought long about doing this track or not, as it was raining for days before I arrived at Franz Josef and did not seem to get much better. However, reading about the experiences of several people, including yours, convinced me that I really want to do this hike. I checked with the DOC people in the morning and was told that at least there should be no more thunderstorms and I can try if I can cross the first stream after the first swing bridge. The streams had swollen after days of rain. Crossing turned out to be impossible without getting wet feet, but doable, so I continued. The path itself had turned to a stream in parts, but the hike was just too beautiful to turn back. As you say, insane! Unfortunately, I did not see any of the Mountain peaks and could barely see the glacier, as the last km of the hike was in the clouds, but it was still one of the most beautoful hikes I have done so far. Proper hiking with lots of climbing, exactly as I like hikes 🙂 I envy you for living in such a beautiful country!

    Liked by 1 person

    • coastingnz says:

      I’m so glad you got the opportunity to do it – even without the mountain views. We were very lucky the day we went as it was also quite clagged in when we started but it cleared for us. Couldn’t agree more – we are very lucky to live in this beautiful country. Enjoy the rest of your explorations.


  12. Bill & Helen Ferguson says:

    We did this walk a couple of days ago, before reading your report. It was cloudy and damp down in Franz Josef and for most of the way up but, when we got to the top, the skies cleared for a few, magical minutes and we got views of the glacier and mountains. Coming down was quite something across the boulder path, taking us over an hour for the first mile. Quite slow for us who do a lot of walking in Scotland and the North Yorks Moors. Nothing like this though, insane is the right word. Our children will be worried for us when we share your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • coastingnz says:

      Bill and Helen I’m glad you had the opportunity to do this walk – and persevered with it despite the weather conditions. It was similar for the start of our walk – misty, drizzle but once the sky cleared – yep wow. Good thing for your children is they are seeing the after photos rather than the before lol. Hope you enjoy the rest of your travels.


  13. Hugo Liao says:

    Hi Stephen! Just doing some research ahead of my NZ trip next month and came across your amazing photos, what a beautiful track it seems! I am just wondering if you did the walk during winter time and whether you think the track is suitable for walking during winter?



    • coastingnz says:

      Hi Hugo. Was July from memory so yes a winter walk. Started in rain/drizzle but got nice later on and for the walk back out. Make sure you double check with local DOC office before heading out to check local conditions. Enjoy. Cheers Jan and Stephen


      • Hugo Liao says:

        Thanks Jan and Stephen, I have checked DOC’s wedsite, and it seems as though this is a pretty challenging track. I suppose I will have to decide on the day depending on the weather. Thank you for your advice again.



      • Jeremy kong says:

        It’s a great adventurous hike. When we did it, it rained heavily the day before, so there were tricky moments with a trail that looks like a stream and streams that looked like rapids, but it was safe and we had a blast getting to the top. If it is a lighter rain, I would go for it but only if you feel comfortable. Good luck!


      • coastingnz says:

        sounds like a similar day to ours lol. Yes as long as you feel comfortable and have double checked with DOC to ensure no issues with creek (river!) crossings or slips should be good. Allow more time than you need though to be double sure.


  14. Alison says:

    Hi Jan,

    After following your recommendation Andrew and I have just returned from Roberts Point! Breathtaking view of the glacier on a very sunny morning. We too enjoyed the swing bridges (although Andrew a little cautious on the long one due to his fear of heights)! Hope you have a great German/NZ Christmas. Thank you once again for your hospitality and “top tips”.


    • coastingnz says:

      Hi Alison! How lovely to hear from you. So glad you enjoyed the hike – certainly been a highlight of the walks we’ve done in the region and yes we both took a second look at the swingbridge before crossing – done a few in our time but never one that goes almost steps down and you have to climb uphill to get off lol. Our favourite though was the steps around the cliff-face. Enjoy the rest of your travels – travel safe and a very Merry Xmas to your both. Warm regards Jan


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