Continuing on after a spectacular walk up to see the Rob Roy Glacier, we collected our heavy backpacks that we'd stashed in a nearby bush and walked a further two and half hours up the valley to Aspiring Hut.
The scenery along the way is a visual feast of snow-capped peaks, lush green trees carpeting the hillsides, waterfalls and turquoise glacial river water. The unusual part about this walk, compared to New Zealand's more popular Great Walks, is that you walk through farm land. At this time of year, there are lots of newborn lambs and calves frolicking around which pleased Gill no end. Care is needed though during spring as we unknowingly crossed between a calf and its mother grazing 20m away, and the angry cow charged us resulting in slight caking of pants!
We reached Aspiring Hut by late afternoon. I had a peek inside and it has a good range of facilities for those wanting to bunk down in relative comfort, including a fire and huge bay windows looking up the valley towards Mount Aspiring. We opted to camp (in usual style) and outdoor facilities were good. Not bad for $5pp per night. Sand flies weren't too annoying either.
Next day we decided to have a short walk up to the Shovel and Pearl Flats. My original plan was to see how far we could get up towards the Cascade Saddle, however the late snowfall this year meant that it was dangerous above the tree-line.
All in all, a great walk for those wanting to sample one of New Zealand's back country highlights. A very peaceful track with few trampers - a real gem!