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Routeburn Track Independent Walk

32 kms (about 13-17 hours walking) over 4 days

Days
5

Pricing From
$799

Difficulty

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Overview

Like the idea of having everything arranged for you but walking independently? Our unguided Routeburn Track Independent Walk 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 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.

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

 

Food

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 Routeburn Track Independent Walk 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.

If you are interested in a Routeburn Track Guided Walk, with food, hot showers and guides included, please contact us and we can forward further details

You may also be interested in the Queen Charlotte Track Independent walking packages.

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 1Arrive Queenstown

Arrive today for your overnight stay in Queenstown. We recommend including 1 or more extra nights in Queenstown, as there is so much to do.

Extra nights accommodation can be included pre-or post tour. We can also book your other tour arrangements in New Zealand if required.

Day 2Queenstown to Routeburn Falls Hut About 9.8kms/3-4 hrs walking

Please Note: This hike can be done in either direction, depending on hut availability.

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 3Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie Hut About 11.3kms/4.5-6 hrs walking

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 4Lake Mackenzie Hut to the Divide via Key SummitAbout 12kms/4-5 hrs walking (extra 1hr 30min to Key Summit)

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).

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.

Total 32kms Walking

Day 5Depart Queenstown

After breakfast, checkout from your Queenstown accommodation.

Extra nights accommodation can be included pre-or post tour. We can also book your other tour arrangements in New Zealand if required.

2018-19 Season: 

  • 23 Oct 2018 - 30 Apr 2019: from NZ$799

Note: Fully Booked to 22 March 2019 and 13-24 April 2019

 

Be 1st and join the waitlist for 2019-20 Season*

Reservations open May 2019 & dates book out quickly

*Rates not yet available - Prices will be advised before booking

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Arrive Queenstown

Arrive today for your overnight stay in Queenstown. We recommend including 1 or more extra nights in Queenstown, as there is so much to do.

Extra nights accommodation can be included pre-or post tour. We can also book your other tour arrangements in New Zealand if required.

Day 2Queenstown to Routeburn Falls Hut About 9.8kms/3-4 hrs walking

Please Note: This hike can be done in either direction, depending on hut availability.

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 3Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie Hut About 11.3kms/4.5-6 hrs walking

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 4Lake Mackenzie Hut to the Divide via Key SummitAbout 12kms/4-5 hrs walking (extra 1hr 30min to Key Summit)

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).

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.

Total 32kms Walking

Day 5Depart Queenstown

After breakfast, checkout from your Queenstown accommodation.

Extra nights accommodation can be included pre-or post tour. We can also book your other tour arrangements in New Zealand if required.

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