Want a hike that can take you to see towering mountains, waterfalls and alluring lakes? One that is equally rewarding as it is challenging? After catching the hiking bug after living in Canada, the Routeburn Track has been catching my eye. I haven’t done a multi day hike before, so I would like to build up my endurance to be able to conquer this hike.
Duration: 3 days
Distance: 32 km
Location: Mt Aspiring & Fiordland National Parks, south-west South Island
Closest towns: Queenstown and Te Anau
Best time to go: November-March
The beginning of the hike is a 45minute drive from Te Anau (with shuttle and transfer options readily available). Day One of the track involves crossing multiple swing bridges, open grassy plains, beautiful beech forest and stunning views of the valley.You will reach the first hut, Routeburn Falls Hut, in approximately 4 hours.
Day 2 is the longest , taking approximately 5.5 hours. The morning starts with the hardest part of the trail – the climb to Harris Saddle (the highest point of the track). You will be rewarded with the stunning Lake Harris and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Then in the afternoon, you descend to the next hut, Lake Mackenzie Hut.
The last day is a 5 hour, mostly downhill walk. On your way you will come across Earland Falls, a spectacular 174m waterfall, before reaching Lake Howden Hut, a perfect lunch stop. The last part of the hike is another climb to Key Summit which provides panoramic views of the mountain range, before the home stretch downhill to the divide on Milford Road. From there, it is an hour drive to the town of Te Anau. Once again, plenty of shuttle options are available.
Transport: Approx $100 both ways (check with your hostel, info centre etc to see if there are any package deals going)
Accommodation in the huts: $54 per night (adult) $18 (child >17)
Camping: $18 (adult) free for children >17
Still need more convincing? Check out this Air New Zealand Safety video, filmed on the Routeburn Track starring Bear Grylls!