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Roberts Point Walking Track, Franz Josef

Home  »  South Island Walks  »  Franz Josef  »  Roberts Point Walking Track, Franz Josef – Walk detail

Roberts Point Track was the first track up the Franz Josef Glacier Valley. It’s a bit of a hike at 11k round trip, about a 5 hour walk. The views are stunning at the end, you’ll look right over Franz Josef Glacier. DOC say this is hard walk, but I didn’t find it that hard. It’s a long continuous uphill hike with sections of large rocks to navigate around. The rocks can be quite slippery on a rainy day. If you use common sense you’ll have no problems. I did the Roberts Point Track walk for the second time at the age of 65. I found it very enjoyable with a great workout. I met lots of people on this walk. I was worried watching hikers start out in the late afternoon and wondering how they would get back down in the dark. Please do this walk in the morning not afternoon, you don’t want to walk around big rocks in the dark.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Franz Josef, South Island NZ
        • Distance: 11 kms
        • Time needed: 5 Hours Return
        • Difficulty: Medium to Hard
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Double back
        • Elevation: 600m
        • Wet Feet: Yes
        • Toilets: No
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: Feb, 2020
  • Track Highlights

    Franz Josef Glacier, Gallery steps, depending on the rain, there can be dozens of water falls. Stunning views of Franz Josef Glacier.

  • Track Quality

    Excellent to start off but that is very short lived, once over the Waiho River you are into real South Island tramping. Good strong foot wear is a must and a warm raincoat as the weather changes very quickly.

  • Hazards

    The Gallery Steps might be challenging to some people. The weather changing in minutes, make sure you pack warm clothes and a raincoat even if it’s sunny when you leave. Good hiking boots with ankle support and good grip are essential. You’ll get wet feet as there are multiple side streams to cross. Don’t do this walk if it’s raining, it’s too dangerous.

  • Transport


  • Water

    The water in the creeks must be treated before drinking, it is not recommended to drink straight from the creeks.

  • Driving Instructions

    There are two ways to access the Roberts Point Track walk. You can drive or walk south from Franz Josef town across the Waiho River bridge and turn left onto the Glacier Access Road. Drive or walk for approximately 2 km (Alex Knob/Lake Wombat car park) or 4 km (road end car park).

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    Shopping is in Franz Josef

  • Area & Track History

    George J Roberts was a surveyor from the West Coast, South Island, he built trig stations throughout the West Coast from the 1870s to 1900. Roberts Point Track was the first track up the Franz Josef Glacier Valley. The Graham brothers used this track to guide people up and on to the Franz Josef Glacier. You will also come across Peter Hendes Hut, it is said to be unsuitable for an overnight stay, it may have a stony floor and no windows but it is better then sleeping out in the open. Peter Hendes also built the Gallery which is just below the hut in 1907; the steps hang off the rock wall by steel bolts and rods. But don’t worry it was restored in 1996. There is no access onto the Franz Josef glacier from this walk.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Roberts Point Walking Track, 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: Start of Roberts Point Track

Drive over the Waiho River bridge turn left on to the Franz Josef Glaser road. At 3.3km pull into the carpark on your right. The Roberts Point Track is across the road. From there just follow the signs to Roberts Point Track, in 15 minutes you will be looking at the Waiho River Swing bridge. In another 50 mins you will be at a tricky climb down to the river bed, there is one small creek to cross or jump across before the tricky piece.

Point 2: The Waiho River Swing bridge

Within fifteen minutes you will walk past Peters pools turn off and be standing at the first of three swing bridges to cross for the day.

Point 3: Hendes Hut

40 mins and you should be at Hendes Hut. I was surprised to see this swing bridge, I don’t think it was here in 2010 the last time I did this walk. The walk up to Hendes Hut was interesting, a lot of rocks to step over.

Point 4: Rope Creek Swing Bridge

The minute you leave Hendes Hut you will be stunned when you see the Gallery, going down the Gallery steps is amazing. After the Gallery, it’s a short 15 minutes walk to Rope Creek Swing Bridge.

Point 5: Robert’s Point Lookout

45 minutes to Roberts Point from Rope Creek Swing Bridge. I could look down to the Waiho river and see the tourist walking up to the Franz Josef Glacier lookout. On my last walk here in 2010 there was only cold rock to sit on not a new wooden deck with comfortable seating and Franz Josef Glacier was right down below me. Today the glacier was around one thousand mitres away.

All walks in Franz Josef…

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Contact info

Fox Glacier Highway, West Coast 7886, New Zealand

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