Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Return of the Gault

Fox Glacier, West Coast

Submitted by Stephanie Berry

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 14 ?

Gnarl Factor: 15 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe

Out and Back

Very hilly

Native bush


Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.2%

Average Downhill Gradient: -10.2%


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Estimated Times to Run







Starting at the same point as the Lake Matheson track you head out on a beautifully graded single track. After about 600m you come to a junction where you take the right track as if you were heading anti-clockwise around Lake Matheson. After a further 600 or so metres you willreach the sign for the Lake Gault turnoff... this trail used to be a 'Wild' trail, however during 2020 it was given the tourist treatment and is now basically a gravel footpath. Don't let that fool you though... it's not easy... after a pretty flat first km, you will climb nearly 300m in the next 2.5km... then you will descent a bit on the other side to a seat and the lake. Once you have had your fill, retrace your steps... if you have great knees then you willhave an awesome downhill, if you don't then I suggest your shoes with the best cushioning.

Lake Gault was used to service the hydroelectric scheme in the 1930's & 40's. It is now home to New Zealand's rarest kiwi, the rowi after some were relocated from Okarito. The track had been closed for over 20 years but thanks to a Fox Glacier community initiative the track has been recut and reopened thanks to the many, many hours put in by community volunteers in collaboration with DOC.

Plenty of safe parking

5 km

5 minutes





Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map


Extremely muddy after rain
Weather very changeable

Lake Matheson Cafe
Lake Matheson
Great food

Trail Legend


Petrus Hedman

has completed Return of the Gault once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

What a gem of a track! So beautiful and worth getting of the less travelled Lake Matheson track. So thankful that I decided last minute to do this one.

Chrissy Schreiber

March 22, 2021

Wow, just wow. The view at the lake is insanely beautiful, especially in a calm clear winter's day. The gnarl factor is changing however, as the track is being upgraded to front country walk superhighway status. Should be 100% grade A track in a month, great extra people will find this gem, but we are also pleased we got to do the final bit old school trail style

Tony Sharpe

May 30, 2020

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