An easy stroll on good tracks to the start of New Zealand’s mightiest River, the Clutha. The source of the Clutha is perfectly clear and glows blue with the fine glacially milled rock flour.
From Wanaka follow the lake shore back towards Cromwell. Turn left at the roundabout and continue until you hit Aubrey Road. After 1.5 km turn left onto Outlet Road, bearing left and arriving at the campground.
Follow your nose until you hit the river and a small DoC sign showing the start of the track. There is a large parking area here.
The track exits in Albert Town. From the junction of SH6 and SH84 follow SH84 for 2 km and turn left into Alison Ave.
After 1 km, at the junction with Gunn Road, Hikuwai Conservation Area is signposted.
Alternatively you can walk from Wanaka town centre along the Eastern shore, with a bit of Wanaka life on show - the marina, Eely Point, Bremner Bay and Millionaires Row. Allow an extra 1 hour.
Return via the same track or hitch/taxi from Albert Town.
Follow the river edge on a shared track with bikes alongside some of New Zealand’s prime trout fishing waters. The track mostly passes under shady kanuka. A few beaches are shaded under weeping willows and grassy patches are perfect for picnic or siesta or both.
The river cliffs echo the rippling waters and ducks, shags and gulls shelter under languid branches.
Shortly after a gravel area the track weaves through a scrubby patch before climbing steeply up a bank by the bridge at Albert Town.
Return via the same track, or follow the suburban roads around the front (steep side) of Mount Iron to complete a loop. Or hitch back to Wanaka.
The Clutha is New Zealand’s second longest river but carries the largest volume. From headwaters way in the Southern Alps near Haast Pass it is the only outlet for Lake Wanaka. It’s catchment is nearly 22,000 square km. On it’s 338 km journey it passes through Otago and to reach the Pacific near Balclutha.
The milky opalescence is derived from refracted light, which is bent to blue parts of the spectrum by quantities of finely milled glacial rock flour carried in suspension.
To Maori the river was known as Mata-au, meaning ‘current’ or ‘swirl in a body of water’.
South Island ▷ Wanaka Region ▷ Wanaka Township
Lovely place to walk, run, cycle or swim! Access all around into the town, about 6 miles I think. Highly recommend, especially if you’re staying at the campsite here.
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Great walk, not difficult, just a stroll.
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Amazing day walk around crystal blue clear water and along a green path. Awesome views of the surroundings.
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Fantastic lakeside walking and cycle trail from the village to the Lake Outlet Campground. Quite flat and very scenic!
Wonderful track along the Clutha, either way Alberttown to Wanaka.
Very nice trail along Lake Wanaka until Albert Town, craning Hawea river over a swing bridge, not a difficult route.
Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍