This track is for experienced and well-equipped trampers only. Check with the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE before starting out.
View from Alex Knob
The track to Alex Knob climbs steadily from lowland forest through sub-alpine scrub to alpine meadows and herb fields, affording superb views of glaciers, mountains and seascapes at various viewpoints along the way.
From the turn-off to Lake Wombat, the track zigzags steeply up to Rata Lookout for your first view of the glacier and main divide. It is then a gentle grade to Christmas Lookout where there is a good rest spot and fantastic views. Once the upper bush edge is reached, the track continues through snow tussock and mountain daisies to the Alex Knob summit, where a plane table shows the names of the surrounding features.
Vegetation changes visibly from rimu, rata and kamahi forest to sub-alpine New Zealand cedar and tree daisies. Forest birds, such as tui, bellbird, kereru [New Zealand wood pigeon], are heard regularly along the track, and sometimes the less common kaka and parakeet. Kea and pipit may be found on the higher sections of the track.
In the winter months, snow is likely above Christmas Lookout. Do not go beyond the snowline if you are inexperienced in walking in alpine areas in winter conditions.
Afternoon cloud is a feature of the local weather, and you are advised to begin your walk early and to reach the summit as early as you can, before cloud begins to obscure your views.