The Routeburn Track spans both Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks
Distance: 32 km / Duration: 3 days
The walk is 32 km long and is the shortest of the Great Walks. It starts at the Divide car park, Milford Road (85km from Te Anau) and finishes at Routeburn Shelter (near Glenorchy – 68km from Queenstown), the track can only be completed one way and takes a total of 3 days to complete. Mountain rivers and streams, alpine lakes and tarns, herb fields, pristine forest, expansive mountain views and cascading waterfalls are all right there. We know the Routeburn Track will keep your camera busy and amaze you with the variety of spectacular scenery it can fit into such a small area.
- Package includes 5 days and 4 nights
- Pre and Post Accommodation at 3 star motel or equivalent in Queenstown (twin share)
- Transportation ex Queenstown to and from the walk
- 3 Day Walk with 2 nights in Department of Conservation Huts
From NZ$ 515 per person
Numbers are limited – Book early to secure your space.
2020/2021 Season : 07 December 2020 to 30 April 2021
Please note the walk is fully booked over the following dates:
- Bookings are due to open on 19 Aug 2020
Divide car park, Milford Road to Lake Mackenzie Hut
12 km / 4 – 5.5 hours
A steady climb from the Divide carpark through Silver Beech forest leaves the road behind as your journey into New Zealand’s natural alpine environment begins. Once you arrive at the Key Summit track, an hour and a half side trip can take you to an attractive alpine wetland offering magnificent views of the Darren Mountains, Lake Marian and the Hollyford Valley.
The main track from the junction descends steadily to Lake Howden Hut. At the top end of the lake you will get fantastic views of the Greenstone Valley and Saddle. Climbing steadily through more native bush and beech forest, walkers will view the 174metre Garland Falls, pass mountain meadows and ribbonwood trees on their on their descent to the Lake Mackenzie Hut.
Lake Mackenzie Hut to Routeburn Falls Hut
11.3 km / 4.5 – 6 hours
Climbing steadily, the track takes you above Lake Mackenzie onto the exposed Hollyford Faces which giving expansive views over the Darren Mountains to the Tasman Sea beyond as you traverse through the impressive array of alpine plants towards the Harris Saddle. At 1255 metres it is the journey’s highest point which can be combined with a steep 1-2 hour side trip to Conical Hill giving a perspective over the Hollyford Valley, Martin’s Bay and the ocean beyond. Back at the Harris Saddle the track negotiates the faces above Lake Harris and descends to the bush line and wetlands to the sanctuary of the Routeburn Falls Hut below the waterfalls of the same name.
Routeburn Falls Hut to Routeburn Shelter car park
8.8 km / 2.5 – 4 hours
The next morning sore legs will be pleased as the journey continues down a well formed path through more beech forest and over a recent slip. The Humboldt Mountains above and Routeburn Valley below provide a compelling perspective of the areas geographical diversity. A narrow gorge at the Bridal Veil Falls follows a swing bridge then it’s all a relaxing wind down to the Routeburn itself for the final saunter to another swing bridge and the Routeburn Shelter car park.
What should I bring?
Make your trip an exercise in comfort rather than endurance. Wear and carry your most comfortable and light clothing with some warm backups. Drying garments in the hut is often not possible for safety reasons so polypropylene and light wool with its fast drying qualities and ability to keep you warm even when it is wet is the most recommended material. Cotton clothing such as jeans, T-shirts and sweatshirts can be a serious liability when wet.
Temperatures can vary during the day, with rain, sun and snow possible all on the same day at any time of the year. To ensure your clothing and sleeping bag stays dry we recommend you line your pack with a strong plastic bag before packing your gear into it.
Suggested clothing for the walks
- Sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Warm hat and gloves
- Good quality walking / tramping boots
- 2 – 3 sets of fast drying clothing. One set to walk in and one set to change into at night. Layers of clothing are recommended to manage changing temperatures. It is not possible to dry clothing at the huts.
- Light weight shoes for around the hut
- Good quality warm wind and rain proof jacket (gortex or similar)
- Swimming costume and towel (optional). Check safe swimming locations at huts.
- Earplugs (optional), but you will be sharing the huts other people
- Camera (optional)
- Pack with large waterproof / pack liner
- Sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner
- Torch and spare batteries — There is no lighting at the huts either in the living area or bunk rooms or between huts and ablution blocks
- Rubbish bag — you must remove all your rubbish from the track
- First aid kit — Insect repellent, plasters for blisters, personal medication (e.g. antihistamine for allergy to wasp stings)
- Plastic bags for wet gear
- Water bottle — There is limited access to water on some places on the track
- Toilet gear: toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, small towel, soap
- Cooking utensils — Pot/pan/billy, matches or lighter
- Eating utensils — Knife, fork, spoon, plate, cup
- Small gas cooker if you want hot drinks etc during the day
- Pot scrubber, tea towel
You cannot buy food at any of the huts. Supermarkets in Te Anau or Queenstown will be able to supply all your food requirements. Food should be lightweight, fast to cook and high in energy value. eg:
Breakfast cereals, crackers, cheese and jam for lunch and instant soup/dried pasta or dehydrated meals for dinner, snacks such as biscuits, muesli bars and tea and coffee will ensure you keep up energy levels without losing your appetite. Supermarkets in Queenstown will be able to supply all your food requirements.
Facilities at your accommodation
- While not five star, the huts you stay in have all the essentials you need for shelter and cooking with sinks, gas cookers, cold water, tables, seating benches and wood burners for heating and as well as solar lighting
- Communal bunkrooms have no pillows or linen and are built with a combination of platform and/or individual bunks with mattresses
- Ablution blocks have flush or vaulted toilets and washbasins with cold water only. Those wishing for showers or baths can enjoy the number of waterfalls or swimming holes on the track.
- A Department of Conservation ranger is located at each hut.
Explore More Today
The Routeburn Track is not recommended for children under 10 years due to the exposed mountainous environment and often adverse weather conditions. The weather in Fiordland National Park can be unpredictable with the westerly airflow bringing high rainfalls at times, and rapidly changing weather at all times of the year including cold temperatures bringing snow and strong winds.
Walkers are responsible for your own and party members safety. It is very important walkers have advised others of their intentions regarding dates and routes taken before they depart on a the Routeburn Track. Emergency locator beacons are also readily available for hire from DOC offices. In extreme weather conditions, the track may be impassable and you may be offered a helicopter ride or boat trip which may be an additional cost.
Take a moment to watch the short video and explore the maps then you will begin to understand what makes this track worthy of being named a ‘Great Walk of New Zealand’.
Great Walks Tracks are well marked and easy to follow but you will need a reasonable standard of fitness to carry your pack over the climbs and descents of the beautiful rugged landscapes to each night’s accommodation. The walking times listed below are approximate times for an average walker taking short breaks each hour.