A short climb with rewarding views of the glacier, mountains and river flats.

The first 800 metres of track is along the river stop bank.

A short, but steady climb then takes you through rainforest to the top of this granite outcrop, where you will get commanding views of the sea and lowlands to one side, and up the Waiho River to the glacier and Southern Alps Kā Tiritiri o te Moana from the other.

The granite of Canavans Knob is much older than the schist rocks of the glacier valley across the Alpine Fault Line, and therefore it survived the scraping of glacier ice 9000 years ago.

Getting there

1.2 kilometres south of Franz Josef Waiau turn right into a sign-posted car park and the start of the Canavans Knob Walk.

Time from car park: 1 hr return
Distance from car park: 3.2 km return

Alternatively, walk from Franz Josef across the Waiho River Bridge and turn sharp right onto a stop bank. Halfway along the stop bank follow the track marker pegs off the stop bank, across the creek and onto the next section of stop bank where you continue to the start of the Canavans Knob Walk.

Time from Franz Josef Waiau township: 1 hr 40 min return
Distance from Franz Josef Waiau township: 6.3 km return

History and culture

The knob was named after Richard Canavan, a prominent businessman at Okarito in the height of the gold rush. Canavan walked past Franz Josef in 1872 with the then New Zealand Premier, Sir William Fox.

Know before you go

  • Check the current track conditions and weather forecasts at the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre 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.
1 hr - 1 hr 40 3.2 km - 6.3 km return via same track Easiest: Short walk