On our South Island tour we had a lot of places we wanted to explore but Roys Peak was always at the top of the list. It is arguably one of the most scenic treks in New Zealand. The walk has no undercover areas throughout which allows you to see all the incredible views for the duration of the trek. To top this you see panoramic views from the ridge line of Roys Peak, most of Lake Wanaka, the surrounding peaks and Mount Aspiring/Tititea.
ABOUT THE TRACK All up, the walk is 16 km return via same route. It is a challenging track that zigzags steeply non-stop along a 4WD track from the car park (where you set off from) to the conservation area. The track continues through tussock grasslands to the 1,578m summit. The total height gain you make is 1,300m which makes this a demanding walk for many if you are not relatively fit. The track closes for lambing season from the 1st October until 10th November each year so organise your trip around these times. Unfortunately no dogs are allowed if you were thinking of taking your furry friend. There is no water available throughout the trek so make sure to take some; we had 1.5 litres each which was more than enough. Keeping that in mind, there are no toilets on the track either. The only toilet is located on the left, 200 m from the Roys Peak car park.
Weather conditions can get pretty hectic up there, as it is a mountain. Do check the forecast before heading out as it can change rapidly in this region. Hypothermia is a real risk even in summer. Be sure to check for avalanches as they can occur from May to November.
HOW TO GET THERE
The trek starts at the Roys Peak Track car park, 6 km from the Wanaka Township on the Mt Aspiring Road. If you type it in on Google maps it takes you straight there. It is well sign posted too so it’s not too hard to find. Keep in mind the car park is small and does get pretty busy, especially in the summer.
WHAT TO WEAR
Luckily, we did the hike on a warm sunny early spring day. When we set off that morning it was about 0 degrees and reached a high 8 degrees Celsius closer to midday. It was still very windy and felt really as we reached the peck. Be prepared on having warm, windproof clothing and thermals; beanies, under layers, gloves, and scarves are a must. Merino is definitely what we would recommend as it stays dry, is light but is still very warm. You will also want a good pair of trekking boots/shoes in the winter as there is snow on the walk at times however you may be ok with decent running trainers in the summer time. Last but not least, good socks are essential! It’s a long walk and you don’t want blisters, wet feet or any rubbing. Our advice is to get merino or wool socks and avoid cotton, as they get wet easily whilst walking.
We set off at 6.30am just before sunrise. The track is really well kept so if you are an early riser and want to be there at 3am to make the summit for sunrise it isn’t a dangerous walk to do in the dark.
It took us seven hours, including stoppages for photos and food, to complete the walk. Three hours to get to the ridge line and famous photo spot, an additional forty minutes from the peak to the summit and 2 hours 20 minutes to return. We could have done it quicker however it is not a walk we wanted to rush, as it is stunning throughout the entire trek. We took a sandwich and some small snacks too as it is a long time you are walking for. It was such a treat to have a bite at the top of the summit with those breathtaking views; however, we would definitely suggest not to take too much as it does slow you down.
So there you go... If you are ready and you know it, hike Mt. Roy!
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