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Rob Roy Stream

8 October 2010

River mouth coordinates 44°30.250′ S, 168°43.307′ E

Rob Roy Glacier from the Rob Roy track. Photo D Hegg

 

Rob Roy Stream is the largest true left tributary of the Matukituki River West Branch; it drains the Rob Roy Glacier and Rob Roy Peak. Thanks to the ease of access and the magnificent alpine scenery, it is one of the most popular day walks in Mount Aspiring National Park. Tramping options are limited to the easy track on the valley floor; for climbers, Rob Roy Stream gives access to Homestead Peak, and to the demanding east ridge of Rob Roy Peak.

History

Rob Roy Stream and glacier were named in early times (possibly by the MacPhersons) after Scottish hero Rob Roy McGregor. It is said that the ‘figure’ of Rob Roy McGregor showed on the rock and ice face of the mountain when seen from the Rob Roy Downs opposite the mouth of Rob Roy Stream. The rock figure of the Scot has long since disappeared, a victim of glacial recession [1].

The valley was probably explored by prospectors in the 1860s. A fascinating written account of an early visit to the valley, at a time when there were no tracks or bridges, can be found in Maud Moreland’s “Through South Westland”. A return trip to bushline took a full day, and involved much difficult sidling across the steep sides of the gorge, in and out of numerous ravines and vegetated gullies [2].

Route description

Rob Roy Stream map. 1 grid square = 1km. Left click to enlarge

Rating: Tramping track, easy                     July 2007

The well formed track up Rob Roy Stream is signposted 1.2km up valley from Raspberry Creek car park. Once across the swingbridge on the Matukituki River West Branch, the track sidles up valley then enters the steep-sided gorge of Rob Roy Stream, where it gains 350m of elevation over a distance of 3km. The trail ends by a good viewpoint onto the Rob Roy Glacier and an interpretative panel, about 2 to 2.5 hours from the car park.

References

[1] Correspondence from Paul Powell about the naming of Rob Roy and Glengyle Peaks. Russell Edward’s personal papers, MS-1164-2/86/1 in Hocken Library Archives and Manuscripts.

[2] p173-180 in Moreland, A.M. (1911) Through South Westland. Whitcombe & Tombs Limited, London (UK), 219 pages.

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