Experience New Zealand’s second most famous walk, which straddles the rugged spine of Fiordland’s Humboldt Mountains, and enjoy scenery even more varied than the Milford Track.
The Routeburn Track has the capacity to lift you way beyond the normal world of outdoor experience. It is utterly sublime. A gloriously remote and untouched wilderness pathway, that can lead you back from the 21st Century to view a pre-historic earth. The view from the track’s highest point, Conical Peak near Harris Saddle, holds you spellbound and lost for words. The panorama of encircling snow-capped mountains extends to the Tasman Sea. The exquisite serenity, stillness and loveliness of Lake Harris, will remain a permanent image etched in your mind.
The 33 km track usually takes 3 to 4 days with a choice of 4 huts and 2 campsites that need to be booked well in advance. The huts are located at Lake Howden, Lake Mackenzie, Routeburn Falls, and Routeburn Flats. The track can be walked from the Divide on the Te Anau/Milford highway, or from the Routeburn Shelter at the head of Lake Wakatipu.
The variety of landscapes is amazing. From the grassy river flats you climb through dense beech forest to the snowline where alpine plants grow in profusion. An exposed sub-alpine section is traversed on Day 2, following the Routeburn to its outlet from Lake Harris. The natural sounds of water tumbling, trickling, gushing and cascading can be heard all along the track. The vegetation growth is prolific, and you can see native birds and colourful butterflies along the way. Great Walk hut or campsite passes can be purchased at the visitor centres in Te Anau, Queenstown and Glenorchy. Public transport is available at either end of the track but needs to be pre-arranged.
The Routeburn is a one-off experience. You will never forget the overwhelming accumulation of natural beauty and the endless variety of forms, shapes and colours.