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Lake Wombat Walk, Franz Josef

Home  »  South Island Walks  »  Franz Josef  »  Lake Wombat Walk, Franz Josef – Walk detail

Lake wombat is an easy interesting forest walk that will take you around 1 hr & 30 mins. Some people would call it a tarn not a lake that sits below Alex Knob, 1300 mt. This lake was formed 9,000 years ago by the Franz Josef Glacier.

Kim from the Franz Josef DOC had this to say about the walk “I’m really pleased that you have included the Lake Wombat track in your listings, that is one of my favourite walks in the area and it is often overlooked! The bird life and flora are incredible on that track. I’m quite excited, the Easter Orchids will be starting to bloom soon and there is some fantastic spots on the Lake Wombat track where there are heaps of them, so it is a real feast for the senses (they smell like vanilla!).” This comment was made in February.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Franz Josef
        • Distance: 3 km
        • Time needed: 1 Hour 30 Minutes Return
        • Difficulty: Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Double back
        • Elevation: 250m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: No
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    I was pleased to see an abundance of bird life on the Lake Wombat walk. The song of the Bellbird & Tui, filled the bush and the grey Warbler and the friendly Fantail fluttered around my head looking for insects that I might have disturbed as I walk along the track.

  • Track Quality

    The track to Lake Wombat was very enjoyable track to walk, not completely flat, just a couple of short easy up hill climbs. This walk is just right for you to experience the rugged West Coast bush for the first time without walking for hours at a time.

  • Hazards

    It can get very cold, always take a warm, waterproof jacket as the weather can change rapidly. You might need insect repellent for those annoying sand flies!

  • Transport

    You’ll need to drive yourself or walk from Franz Josef town.

  • Water

    Take your own drinking water with you.

  • Driving Instructions

    Drive or walk south from the Franz Josef town across the Waiho River bridge and turn left onto the Glacier Access Road. Then it’s approximately 2 km to where the Lake Wombat Walk begins, signposted on the right side of the road.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    Plenty of great cafes and restaurants in Franz Josef town.

  • Area & Track History

    The lake was named after after Jack Irwin, his nickname was Wombat Jack. Wombat Jack lived in his hut beside the Waiho River while seeking his fortune in gold.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Lake Wombat Walk, Franz Josef

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Starting Point

The carpark is around 2 km in on the right, on the Franz Josef Glacier road. The carpark is a small one so get in early. Don’t cross the road to the other walkway, just walk into the bush and follow the well formed track.

Point 2: Alex Knob Turnoff

Within minutes of leaving the car park you will cross a walking and cycle track that runs up to the Franz Josef Glacier Carpark, and then you will cross over a small bridge. The next point of interest is the turn off to Alex Knob track, an eight hour walk to a height of 1300 mt.

Point 3: Lake Wombat

From the Alex Knob track turn off you only have fifteen minutes to reach wombat Lake. Today there was no mirror effect on Lake Wombat because the wind was up and causing light ripples across the lake. But I could still sit down in the sun and listen to the birds singing in the trees while I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and a biscuit. No, even that was short lived. The non stop noise from the choppers flying up to the Franz Josef Glacier Car park put an end to that.

All walks in Franz Josef…

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Contact info

Lake Wombat, West Coast 7886, New Zealand

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