Te Ara a Waiau Walkway/Cycleway

Track category

Walking track
Mountain bike - Easy


Walk: 2 hr return Cycle: 1 hr return


8.7 km


Pick up the track on the right hand side of the road outside the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE, before crossing and then going under the Waiho River bridge. The track then runs along the left hand edge of the Glacier Access Road for approximately 1.7 km on a sealed lane marked for walkers and cyclists. Please keep off the road lanes. 

Approaching the Rata Grove, a gravel track heads into the forest on the left hand side of the road for a short time, before re-emerging from the forest and crossing the Glacier Valley Access Road. Take care to give way to all traffic and cross carefully! 

Te Ara a Waiau walkway and cycleway.  Photo: K Henderson.
Te Ara a Waiau

Once across the road the track winds its way easily up the valley through lush rainforest with abundant birdlife. The track crosses the Lake Wombat Walk just minutes from the road crossing – take care at this intersection also, cyclists please watch for walkers crossing!  Views of the mountains and upper valley are possible at times as you head up the valley.

Those on bikes must leave their bikes at the bike rack at the end of Te Ara a Waiau – there is no bike access on any other tracks in the area. Please obey the bike code of conduct and respect others – stay in control, give way to walkers, signal your approach and pass with care, and ride shared-use tracks in small groups.

Getting there

Te Ara a Waiau starts from State Highway 6 just outside the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE.


Mountain biking and cycling Mountain biking and cycling

Mountain biking

Track description

Places to stay

There are a number of accommodation options in Franz Josef Waiau.

About the area

This shared use track is an exciting new addition to the recreational opportunities in Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Visitors can now walk or bike to Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere (Franz Josef Glacier) on the purpose built facility from the Franz Josef Waiau township to the glacier valley car park. 

Plan and prepare

  • Check the current track conditions and weather forecasts at the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE before starting your trip. 
  • Always take warm and waterproof clothing as the weather can change rapidly. 
  • Carry drinking water, insect repellent and sun protection at all times.
  • Dogs are not permitted on this track.

Find out more



DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map

Learn more

Check, Clean, Dry between waterways and stop the spread of didymo.

Walking track categories


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for West Coast places


Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Address:   13 State Highway 6
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Franz Josef Glacier Base
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

Give feedback on a recent visit to a DOC place