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Routeburn Track Independent Walk

32 kms (about 13-17 hours walking) over 2, 3 or 4 days

Days
4

Pricing From
$399

Difficulty

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Overview

Fully Booked for 2018-2019 Season

Wanting to go in 2019-20 Season then contact us to be put on our reminder list

If you are interested in a Routeburn Track Guided Walk, please contact us direct with dates, number of people and ages of any children, as we can forward further details.

You may also be interested in the following Independent walking packages:

Queen Charlotte Track, Abel Tasman Kayak & Walk,  Heaphy TrackRakiura Track or Tongariro Northern Circuit

Like the idea of having everything arranged for you but walking independently? Our unguided walking track package gives you more time to enjoy this stunning hiking track, letting you experience this New Zealand "Great Walk" to the full!

The Routeburn Track New Zealand Independent Walk traverses wild and scenic mountain country in Fiordland National Park, between the Hollyford and Dart valleys at the base on New Zealand's Southern Alps. Independent walkers stay in DOC huts, situated at Lake Howden, Lake Mackenzie and Routeburn Flats or Routeburn Falls. These huts must be booked.

Most people would walk the Routeburn Track over 3 days, but it can also be done as either a 2 or 4 day trip. 

If you are interested in a Routeburn Track Guided Walk, please contact us direct with dates, number of people and ages of any children, as we can forward further details.

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.

Routeburn Track Independent Walk Profile

Routeburn Falls

Humboldt Mountains from the Routeburn Track

Humboldt Mountains

Beech Forest on the Routeburn Track

Beech Forest

Routeburn Track Independent Walk, New Zealand

Routeburn Track Independent Walk, New Zealand

Routeburn Track Independent Walk, New Zealand

Routeburn Track Independent Walk, New Zealand

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Queenstown to Routeburn Falls Hut3-4hrs 8.8km walk

It is recommended that you arrive in Queenstown a day before your hike. You can book your accommodation here.

There is a 3pm pre-walk briefing at our Queenstown Office.

-----

The following is based on a 4 days/3 nights hike. 

The following options are also available:

  • 2 days/1 night 
  • 3 days/2 nights 

-----

A 9am transfer from Queenstown via Glenorchy to the beginning of the Routeburn Track. This well formed, easily graded track begins to climb steadily up the gorge after about half an hour through red, silver and mountain beech forest into the narrow Routeburn Gorge, then around the open, grassed Routeburn Flats. Past Sugarloaf Stream the track is the remnant of the old bridle path built in the 1870s.

From Routeburn Flats, there is a steady grade, through red beech forest, then silver and mountain beech and onto the cooler, higher slopes. The track re-enters the bush to the Routeburn Falls Hut.

Day 2Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake McKenzie Hut 5-6hrs 11.3km walk

The track rises steadily past waterfalls, alpine lakes and rock studded basins to the Route Burn at its outlet from Lake Harris and then across the Harris Saddle (1277 metres). This sub-alpine section of track is above the bush line and very exposed and can be extremely hazardous in adverse weather conditions. Be sure that you heed the advice of conservation staff in such conditions. Allow one to two hours for the climb. Sub-alpine herbs and cushion plants are a feature of the vegetation, please keep to the track, especially around Harris Saddle, to protect these very fragile plants in the vicinity.

On a fine day a short rewarding climb from the Harris Saddle up Conical Hill offers views of all points of the compass, the Hollyford Valley through to Lake Mckerrow, the Darran Mountains, Martins Bay and the Tasman Sea, and down the Routeburn. Allow 1 to 2 hours for the return trip.

Past the Harris Saddle emergency shelter and toilet the track drops steeply down a gully from the saddle and traverses along the exposed Hollyford face, before descending on a well-formed series of zigzags leading down to Lake Mackenzie Hut.

Day 3Lake Mackenzie Hut to Lake Howden Hut 3-4hrs 8.6 km walk

It's a leisurely walk this morning down to Howden Hut. The track climbs for about 30 minutes then sidles along the mountain face to Earland Falls and Howden Hut. It provides great views of the Hollyford Valley and passes through silver beech forest. Stop and listen for the bush robins, tomtits or the wood pigeons.

After lunch, climb the 919m Key Summit. This fragile alpine area has an amazing array of plants which flourish here, such as orchids, bog pines and bog daisies, with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes. before arriving at the Divide to catch the 4.20pm coach back to Queenstown. (This option is the 4 day/4 night package).

Milford Sound Option

As above except accommodation is booked at Howden Hut for your 3rd night on the track. This option gives you more time to take in the views or enjoy a leisurely morning at Lake Mackenzie, or relax around Howden Hut with ample time the next morning to catch a bus to Milford Sound.

Day 4Lake Howden Hut to the Divide via Key SummitAbout 7kms/2-3 hrs walking (includes Key Summit)

The track continues down past Lake Howden and through beech forests to finally join the Milford Road at the Divide.

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.

At the Divide you will be picked up and returned to Queenstown.

There are options to be taken onto Milford Sound for a cruise to take in the sights of the world famous Milford Sound and Mitre Peak. 

Total 32kms Walking

Cost per person

2018-2019

2 days/1 night:

  • Adult: NZ$399*
  • Child (10-17 years): NZ$349*

3 days/2 nights:

  • Adult: NZ$499*
  • Child (10-17 years): NZ$449*

4 days/3 nights:

  • Adult: NZ$649*
  • Child (10-17 years): NZ$599*

*Special rates available (please request at time of booking) for:

New Zealand citizens or
Those ordinarily resident in New Zealand

  • Who holds a residence class or work visa; and
  • Has lived in NZ for 6 of the previous 12 months; and
  • For whom NZ is their primary place of established residence

Proof of eligibility will be required for the NZ rate – such as NZ drivers licence, utility bill or copy of passport prior to the start of the walk. 

Payment

  • Full payment on booking

Cancellation Charges

  • Cancellations more than 10 days prior to departure will incur a fee of $200 per person
  • Cancellations between 3 - 10 days prior to departure will be 50% refundable
  • Cancellations less than 3 days are 100% non-refundable
  • No Shows will receive a 100% charge or no refund of prepayment
  • We reserve the right to amend, cancel, or postpone services due to weather, road conditions and/or at their own discretion

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Queenstown to Routeburn Falls Hut3-4hrs 8.8km walk

It is recommended that you arrive in Queenstown a day before your hike. You can book your accommodation here.

There is a 3pm pre-walk briefing at our Queenstown Office.

-----

The following is based on a 4 days/3 nights hike. 

The following options are also available:

  • 2 days/1 night 
  • 3 days/2 nights 

-----

A 9am transfer from Queenstown via Glenorchy to the beginning of the Routeburn Track. This well formed, easily graded track begins to climb steadily up the gorge after about half an hour through red, silver and mountain beech forest into the narrow Routeburn Gorge, then around the open, grassed Routeburn Flats. Past Sugarloaf Stream the track is the remnant of the old bridle path built in the 1870s.

From Routeburn Flats, there is a steady grade, through red beech forest, then silver and mountain beech and onto the cooler, higher slopes. The track re-enters the bush to the Routeburn Falls Hut.

Day 2Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake McKenzie Hut 5-6hrs 11.3km walk

The track rises steadily past waterfalls, alpine lakes and rock studded basins to the Route Burn at its outlet from Lake Harris and then across the Harris Saddle (1277 metres). This sub-alpine section of track is above the bush line and very exposed and can be extremely hazardous in adverse weather conditions. Be sure that you heed the advice of conservation staff in such conditions. Allow one to two hours for the climb. Sub-alpine herbs and cushion plants are a feature of the vegetation, please keep to the track, especially around Harris Saddle, to protect these very fragile plants in the vicinity.

On a fine day a short rewarding climb from the Harris Saddle up Conical Hill offers views of all points of the compass, the Hollyford Valley through to Lake Mckerrow, the Darran Mountains, Martins Bay and the Tasman Sea, and down the Routeburn. Allow 1 to 2 hours for the return trip.

Past the Harris Saddle emergency shelter and toilet the track drops steeply down a gully from the saddle and traverses along the exposed Hollyford face, before descending on a well-formed series of zigzags leading down to Lake Mackenzie Hut.

Day 3Lake Mackenzie Hut to Lake Howden Hut 3-4hrs 8.6 km walk

It's a leisurely walk this morning down to Howden Hut. The track climbs for about 30 minutes then sidles along the mountain face to Earland Falls and Howden Hut. It provides great views of the Hollyford Valley and passes through silver beech forest. Stop and listen for the bush robins, tomtits or the wood pigeons.

After lunch, climb the 919m Key Summit. This fragile alpine area has an amazing array of plants which flourish here, such as orchids, bog pines and bog daisies, with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes. before arriving at the Divide to catch the 4.20pm coach back to Queenstown. (This option is the 4 day/4 night package).

Milford Sound Option

As above except accommodation is booked at Howden Hut for your 3rd night on the track. This option gives you more time to take in the views or enjoy a leisurely morning at Lake Mackenzie, or relax around Howden Hut with ample time the next morning to catch a bus to Milford Sound.

Day 4Lake Howden Hut to the Divide via Key SummitAbout 7kms/2-3 hrs walking (includes Key Summit)

The track continues down past Lake Howden and through beech forests to finally join the Milford Road at the Divide.

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.

At the Divide you will be picked up and returned to Queenstown.

There are options to be taken onto Milford Sound for a cruise to take in the sights of the world famous Milford Sound and Mitre Peak. 

Total 32kms Walking

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