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Routeburn Track. One Of New Zealand's Famous 9 Great Walks

Updated on October 9, 2016

Introduction To The Routeburn Track

The Routeburn Track is the ultimate hiking adventure; it is a track that has it all. The extraordinarily popular track weaves its way through meadows, pristine rivers, reflective tarns and big tree forests dripping with vegetation. It offers unbeatable scenery and activities, from bush walking and waterfall views, to glistering alpine lakes and mountain vistas. Birdlife is also very common in the forested sections of the Routeburn Track with native tomtits, robins, fantails, bellbirds, and wood pigeons, dominate the entire area. If you look carefully, you may even spot the cheeky Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot. These spectacular views coupled with the extraordinary experiences that awaits a hiker makes this track one that shouldn’t be missed.

The Routeburn Track, set out amongst lowland beach forests, has a – reputation as one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” as it showcases the natural jewels of both Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks in all their diversity and splendor. The various walks of the Routeburn Track will take you through a time capsule of strange plants and birds, dramatic scenery and fresh clean natural environments, surrounded by the vast mountains, set in the oceans of the South Pacific.

The track has road access to both ends, this means that there are two possible starting points for your Routeburn adventure. Most people start their walk from the Routeburn shelter end of the trail, which is located near the beautiful town of Glenorchy and 68 Km from Queenstown. But the track can also be walked from Divide Shelter, which is located on the Milford Road, 85 Km from Te Anau. Although, the Routeburn Track is a shorter multi-day hike, it has some of the most spectacular scenery. The track is also well formed and easy to follow.

New Zealand's Best Walking Trails: 9 Great Walks & The Best Time To Walk Them

New Zealand's Best Walking Trails: 9 Great Walks & The Best Time To Walk Them
New Zealand's Best Walking Trails: 9 Great Walks & The Best Time To Walk Them

Hiking tracks and Walking trails in New Zealand, (especially New Zealand;s 9 Great Walks) are renowned around the globe amongst walkers and hikers who love to explore the most awe-inspiring landscapes on our planet. New Zealand boasts over 13 protected National Parks covering more than 30000 square kilometers, all full to the brim with beautiful, natural scenery ready to be explored via a network of hiking trails. 99 cent book

 

Routeburn Track Birdlife

Routeburn Track Walk Itinerary

The Routeburn Track explores 32km (19 Miles) of countryside over 2-4 days, incorporating sections of both Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks. Setting out, you'll meander through ancient beech forest, enjoying birdlife and regular views of the pristine waterways which are often forded by classic kiwi swing bridges.

Day 1, Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Falls Hut, 8.8km

The track begins at Routeburn shelter., and gently winds along the crystal-clear river. Meander through beautiful beech forest before sidling above the Routeburn Gorge. A second swing bridge takes walkers to open, grassy flats, before the track climbs steadily through more beech forest. Cross two more swing bridges & enjoy the huge views of the valley below before arriving at Routeburn Falls Hut.

Day 2, Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake McKenzie Hut, 11.3km

Climb steadily up the valley, through wetlands and tussock-covered flats, before sidling along the bluffs above Lake Harris to reach the highest point on the track at Harris Saddle/Tarahaka Whakatipu (1,255 m).

The track then descends and traverses along the exposed Hollyford Face, with expansive views over the Darran Mountains. This section of the track is well-known for its impressive array of alpine plants. A steady descent leads to Lake Mackenzie Hut, set beside the enchanting Lake Mackenzie. This walk could take about 4 to 6 hours to complete.

Day 3, Lake McKenzie Hut to The Divide, 12km

From the Lake Mackenzie Hut, You’ll walk through grassy flats dotted with trees before coming to the spectacular Earland Falls (174m). The track then continues on a gradual descent to the Lake Howden Hut, the perfect place to stop for lunch. From here, the track climbs steadily to the Key Summit Track turnoff. Key Summit provides panoramic views over the Humboldt and Darran Mountains. You can then head gradually downhill through silver beech forest to the Divide on Milford Road.

Routeburn Track

A markerrouteburn track new zealand -
Routeburn Track, Mt Aspiring National Park 9372, New Zealand
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Routeburn Track New Zealand

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Planning and Preparation

Just as it is with any Great Walk, it is very important to be well prepared and equipped as they are of a higher standard than most other tracks. The Routeburn Track should only be walked by groups or individuals with moderate fitness level and experience. As always, you’ll be needing your hiking boots, good clothing, and first aid kit. For a well detailed information on the equipment and preparation required for the Routeburn track, you should visit the website of the Department of Conservation.

Avalanches are quite frequent in the Routeburn Track and there are more than 32 avalanche paths, some of which may bring avalanche debris to the valley floor and have the potential to cross the Routeburn Track – their start zones cannot be seen from the track. If you would be visiting places where avalanches could occur, be sure to first check for any advices and information from the DOC visitor center closest to the area where you want to go. You should also take all river crossings seriously. Although, most of the rivers and waterways on the track have sturdy bridges, but in wet weather, rivers can rise very rapidly and flood the tracks. Many of the bridges are also removed over winter to avoid damage from avalanches and flooding. Never attempt to cross a flooded stream or river, you can simply turn back when you are in doubt.

Accommodation During Walks

There are two campsites and four public huts on the track, all managed by the Department of Conservation. The huts are well equipped with mattresses, bunk beds, separate bathrooms, flushing toilets, running water, gas rings for cooking, and several other facilities. During Great Walk seasons, you’ll need to book for huts and campsites in advance as they are first come, first serve basis only. Camping outside the designated campsites or staying overnight in the shelters, even when huts and campsites are fully booked, is not permitted. The track is patrolled by DOC rangers. Be aware that outside the Great Walk seasons, facilities are reduced. One very notable change outside Great Walk seasons is the replacement of flush toilets with pit toilets. Also, gas is not provided and you’ll need to bring your own cooking stove. Running water is also turned off inside the huts but water can be obtained from the outside water tank.

If you are the very busy type, then it may not be possible for you to fit the full 32 Km multi-day hike into your schedule. But you can always go for a day walk on the trail without completing the whole track and still experience the best of New Zealand’s spectacular scenery that would make it your “walk of a lifetime”.

New Zealand's Best Walking Trails: 9 Great Walks & The Best Time To Walk Them

New Zealand's Best Walking Trails: 9 Great Walks & The Best Time To Walk Them
New Zealand's Best Walking Trails: 9 Great Walks & The Best Time To Walk Them

Hiking tracks and Walking trails in New Zealand, (especially New Zealand;s 9 Great Walks) are renowned around the globe amongst walkers and hikers who love to explore the most awe-inspiring landscapes on our planet. New Zealand boasts over 13 protected National Parks covering more than 30000 square kilometers, all full to the brim with beautiful, natural scenery ready to be explored via a network of hiking trails. Book only 99 cents

 

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