Last Updated: 6th May 2024

Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Rock of Ages

Wanaka, Otago

Submitted by Malcolm Law

Last Updated: 6th May 2024

Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Open

Grunt Factor: 49 ?

Gnarl Factor: 58 ?

31.0km

650m

650m

550m

  

  

  

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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Riverside

Open farmlands

Run Makeup

5%
5%
10%
25%
50%
5%

Gravel Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +7.1%

Average Downhill Gradient: -7.4%

Trailhead

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Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable

Slow

6:00

Moderate

4:00

Fast

Cross the Matukituki River on the swingbridge and follow the obvious trail as it bears right across open tussock and into beech forest close to the river. The trail stays close to the river for a km or so and then merges into more of a 4WD track which you follow towards a fenceline on your left.

Pick up the dead straight, 1 km long station road (gravel) that takes you into the Eastern Branch of the Matukituki and at the end of this follow the poled route across open country to the National Park boundary, adjacent to Glacier Burn.

Cross Glacier on the swingbridge (slightly upstream, just out of sight when you first enter the bush) and follow the trail north through beech forest. There are several places where it gets very close to the river, making for some very tempting swimming spots on a hot day. Most of this section is pretty rough with plenty of rocks and roots to fall over, and even a wee waterfall to cross with the aid of a chain. All rather magical!

On reaching Junction Flat turn left on to the Kitchener Track that heads uphill steeply into the magnificent Kitchener River and spits you out on to Aspiring Flats. The final few km you'll be on the river flats with no trail or markers, crossing the Kitchener where you can (take care, some parts run deep!) Finding the Rock of Ages bivvy isn't the easiest thing in the world - it's tucked away in the bush on the left hand (true right) side of the valley about a km upstream.

If your hunt for the bivvy is successful (well worth the search - it's a huge rock overhang) then give yourself a pat on the back and start re-tracing your steps back to the car.

There is one wee diversion on your way back that is worth noting - where the Kitchener Track rejoins the E. Matukituki Track, turn left and check out the scary 3-wire bridge a couple of hundred metres upstream.

Stunning scenery the whole way, especially the views of the Kitchener Face of Mt. Aspiring that dominate the landscape up at Aspiring Flats.
The Rock of Ages divvy is a classic rock overhang bivvy that is worth hunting for. Swimming holes and a wobbly 3-wire bridge for those that dare!

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

There are shuttles from Wanaka but having your own car makes it much easier. Parking is safe.

48 km

58 minutes

No

No

Moderate.

It's all pretty obvious apart from the hunt for Rock of Ages bivvy which may require a little patience. But even if you don't find it the views from Aspiring Flats are gobsmacking and make the trip very worthwhile.

Non-existent.

Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map

Plenty of water once you reach the National Park boundary. Maybe start with 500ml and fill from streams beyond this point.

Can get very muddy after rain, ice and snow a real possibility in winter.
Do not attempt crossing the Kitchener River if it's running high.

Main hazard is a swollen Kitchener River after heavy rain - do NOT attempt to cross it. Other streams are bridged, so you should be able to get most of the way in pretty much any weather.

Trail Legend

Nicole Weyandt

Nicole Weyandt

has completed Rock of Ages once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

AMAZING beauty

Dan Martin

May 5

Awesome run!

Malcolm Law

August 19, 2020

Mal knows I pulled the pin at Junction flat so I can't claim my points :'( but I can still review it.Much better run than a tramp, awesome tempting views running up to the park boundary then stunning bush, some rock hopping and little ups and downs all the way to junction flat. I guess the next bit would be even more stunning.Although cheating, starting at Cameron Flat is a good option if the river is low. The run would suck quite a bit if done in the wet as there are a lot of roots that would be good ankle breakers. b.effect brewery is right next to the two tyre repair places in Wanaka that were required after puncturing on the way out.

Matt Bixley

January 22, 2020

A place of staggering beauty. Visited a long time ago now, next time I'll come back and stay a night or two, the Kitchener Cirque is a sight to behold

Tony Sharpe

August 19, 2019

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