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4 Day Routeburn Track Guided Great Walk

About 33 km, 13.5 to 17 hrs hiking

Days
3

Pricing From
$1035

Difficulty

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Overview

Routeburn Track Guided Great Walk

Linking the Mount Aspiring National Park to Fiordland in New Zealand, the Routeburn Track Guided Great Walk track is a short walk where families and beginners are welcome to hike. The route may be short but it’s big on views: reflective lakes, magnificent mountain peaks, alpine tarns, and rugged valleys make up the landscape. Watch out for unique wildlife along the way. Some of the native birds that your Bushman will be able to point are robins, fantails and the cheeky Kea, one of the smartest birds and the only alpine parrot in the world.

After crossing the swing bridge, the trail takes you through native beech forest before delivering you to open grassy flats and a steady ascent to the first hut where your effort will be rewarded with wide open valley views below. On Day 2, when you’ve reached the highest point of the track, on top of the saddle you’ll come upon the deep blue waters of Lake Harris before descending towards the Hollyford Valley and Lake Mackenzie where views of Earland Falls greet you. Marvel at the formidable peaks of Humboldt and Darran mountains from the Key Summit. Your Bushman will provide plenty of education and informative chat during the hike.

Tour Grading: C

  • The Routeburn Track traverses both Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, part of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area.
  • The track complements rather than competes with the Milford Track.

Fitness: 

Perfect for families and beginners. Superb views, ancient beech forest and native birdlife make this walk popular for everyone.

Pick Ups: From the local iSites (Information or Visitor Centres)

Duration: About 4 days

Q&A:

Are children able to safely climb the Harris Saddle?

We under your family’s best interest is always a top priority so before leaving, work with your Bushman how best to approach the hike given your family’s health and determination. Many families have hiked this route and if your family’s fitness level requires staying in extra huts, there are several more on the way. Good weather makes the track easily accessible, and with a steady pace, anyone can complete the track.

Are other huts we can stay in available along the track?

Many other huts and emergency shelters that we haven’t noted on the map can be found on many of our Great Walks. Our map serves only as a guide so if you wish to stay in a different hut (you’d be needing s pass for this), you are able to choose this with your Bushman.

Will we be able to see wildlife up close?

Birds abound in our island and they often come as close as they desire. Fantails are renowned for their curious and bold flight paths such that they can be right in front of you as they jump from one branch to the next.  The bolder Kea would even come as close as taking your belongings! While your Bushman is there to monitor interaction, keep in mind, however, that our native birds are best viewed from afar so please refrain from getting close during your trip.

Routeburn Track Altitude Map

Cancellations:

  • Cancel 7 days before your trip for a full refund
  • Cancel within 72 hours will result in a 25% deposit taken
  • Cancel within 24 hours will result in full payment taken.

Routeburn Track Guided Walk Package - 4 Day

Routeburn Track Guided Walk Package - 4 Day

Routeburn Track Guided Walk Package - 4 Day

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Falls HutAbout 3-4 hrs, 10 km hiking

Please Note

This hike can also be done in reverse.

Itinerary

The track begins at Routeburn Shelter, gently winding alongside the crystal-clear Route Burn (river). After passing Sugarloaf Stream, you’ll climb to Bridal Veil Waterfall and continue above the gorge. A swing bridge leads to open grassed flats, and the Routeburn Flats Hut and Campsite.

The track climbs steadily through stunning beech forest, providing views of the Humboldt Mountains. End the day at Routeburn Falls Hut, on the edge of the bushline and close to the impressive Routeburn Falls cascade.

Day 2Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie HutAbout 5-6 hrs, 11.5 hr hiking

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/TarahakaWhakatipu (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.

Day 3Lake Mackenzie Hut to Lake Howden HutAbout 3-4 hrs, 8.6 km hiking

Leaving Lake Mackenzie Hut the track crosses a small flat before climbing to the bush line. A gradual descent then leads past the ‘Orchard’, an open grassyarea dotted with ribbonwood trees, to the impressive Earland Falls (174 m). The track continues its descent through beech forest to Lake Howden Hut.

Day 4Lake Howden Hut to the Divide via Key SummitAbout 2-3 hrs, 7 kms hiking

The well graded track climbs steadily for about 15 minutes to the Key Summit Track turn-off. From the Key Summit turn-off, the gradual downhill walk is through silver beech forest to The Divide on the Milford Highway. At 532 m, The Divide is the lowest crossing of the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

Side trip: Key Summit

This popular walk climbs above the bushline to an alpine wetland and, in good weather, offers magnificent views of the Darran Mountains and the Hollyford valley. A self-guided alpine nature walk passes a range of native vegetation: beech forest, subalpine shrublands and alpine tarnsand bogs. Birdlife is prolific and tomtits, robins, New Zealand pigeons/kererū and bellbirds/korimako are commonly seen.

Afterwards you will be transferred back to Queenstown or Te Anau.

Cost per person 2019-20 Season

  • Single: NZ$1,370
  • 2 people: NZ$1,180
  • 3 people: NZ$1,035

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Falls HutAbout 3-4 hrs, 10 km hiking

Please Note

This hike can also be done in reverse.

Itinerary

The track begins at Routeburn Shelter, gently winding alongside the crystal-clear Route Burn (river). After passing Sugarloaf Stream, you’ll climb to Bridal Veil Waterfall and continue above the gorge. A swing bridge leads to open grassed flats, and the Routeburn Flats Hut and Campsite.

The track climbs steadily through stunning beech forest, providing views of the Humboldt Mountains. End the day at Routeburn Falls Hut, on the edge of the bushline and close to the impressive Routeburn Falls cascade.

Day 2Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie HutAbout 5-6 hrs, 11.5 hr hiking

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/TarahakaWhakatipu (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.

Day 3Lake Mackenzie Hut to Lake Howden HutAbout 3-4 hrs, 8.6 km hiking

Leaving Lake Mackenzie Hut the track crosses a small flat before climbing to the bush line. A gradual descent then leads past the ‘Orchard’, an open grassyarea dotted with ribbonwood trees, to the impressive Earland Falls (174 m). The track continues its descent through beech forest to Lake Howden Hut.

Day 4Lake Howden Hut to the Divide via Key SummitAbout 2-3 hrs, 7 kms hiking

The well graded track climbs steadily for about 15 minutes to the Key Summit Track turn-off. From the Key Summit turn-off, the gradual downhill walk is through silver beech forest to The Divide on the Milford Highway. At 532 m, The Divide is the lowest crossing of the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

Side trip: Key Summit

This popular walk climbs above the bushline to an alpine wetland and, in good weather, offers magnificent views of the Darran Mountains and the Hollyford valley. A self-guided alpine nature walk passes a range of native vegetation: beech forest, subalpine shrublands and alpine tarnsand bogs. Birdlife is prolific and tomtits, robins, New Zealand pigeons/kererū and bellbirds/korimako are commonly seen.

Afterwards you will be transferred back to Queenstown or Te Anau.

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