Glacier Explorer

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Route Overview

General Overview
This EPIC expedition takes you up two stunning remote High Country valleys and offers you the extremely rare opportunity to drive right up to the edge of a High Country glacier lake. The expedition starts and finishes at Tekapo Village. It crosses multiple rivers and streams as it takes you deep into the High Country through breath-taking scenery and finally to the edge of a glacier lake. Whilst this expedition can be driven in a very full day by experienced 4X4 drivers, it is recommended to drive this expedition over two days and spend a night at one of the two recommended huts, or both if time permits.
Start/Finish Point
The start and finish point for this expedition is Lake Tekapo Village.
Terrain includes
The terrain is predominantly Grade 1 through to Grade 3. There are some sections that can be considered Grade 4 and near the glacier lake where there are large boulders it can be considered Grade 5. There are numerous river and stream crossing throughout the expedition ranging from Grade 2 to Grade 4. Careful line picking means this expedition can be driven by most true 4X4 vehicles on standard sized tyres. Towards the head of the valley the terrain increases in difficulty as you work to find the best line up the river bed towards the glacier lake. Recent floods and rockfalls will dictate how far you can drive up to the glacier lake. Sometimes you will be able to drive all the way to the glacier lake edge, other times large boulders will block your path. If this is the case, you can simply park up and walk the last few hundred metres or so to reach the lake edge on foot.
Total distance 173 km.
Max Fuel Leg
173 km between fuel stops.
Drive time
Total conservative driving time as a two day expedition is 8 hours on day one and 2.5 hours on day two. Total conservative driving time as a single day expedition is 10.5 hours.
There are two remote huts that offer overnight accommodation.
Access Permission
No permission is needed for this expedition. All the roads and tracks are legally accessible to the public. You will traverse a short section of a High Country station homestead. Please be respectful and drive slowly.
Access Limitations
The river crossing and high altitude mean that this expedition is not recommended (and likely to be inaccessible) at times of heavy rain or snow.
Preparation and Safety
Heavy rain or heavy snow melt can lead to river levels being too high and dangerous to enter or exit this route. You may be forced to stay an extended period until the rivers subside enough to be forded safely. You should take extra food and the appropriate safety equipment as a safety precaution when you are driving this route. This expedition can be considered remote. When driving this route, it is highly recommended to carry a safety device such as a PLB or other satellite tracking device.

Legs in this Expedition

Leg 1 <span>(24 photos)</span>
Leg 1 (24 photos)
Leg 2 <span>(13 photos)</span>
Leg 2 (13 photos)
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