This is the ultimate alpine adventure; weaving through meadows and reflective tarns, with spectacular views over vast mountain ranges and valleys. Highlights include: winding through the Routeburn gorge along the crystal-clear Route Burn river, following the cascade of the Routeburn Falls, taking in the spectacular views of the Hollyford valley and Darren Mountains and walking right past the 174 metre high Earland Falls.
One of New Zealand's Great Walks, the intermediate level Routeburn Track is 32km one way and may be walked in either direction. One track end of the track is at the Routeburn Shelter (near Queenstown) and the other is at The Divide (between Te Anau and Milford Sound). Great Walk tracks are of a higher standard than most other tracks so are well formed, wide, and easy to follow. Most rivers and waterways on these tracks have sturdy bridges, although occasionally there may also be small streams to step across.
Most walkers take 3 days and 2 nights to complete the Routeburn Track, usually staying at the Lake Mackenzie and Routeburn Falls huts. The trip can be extended by staying at the other huts available and linking with other tracks. There are 4 huts and 2 campsites along the track, which must be booked in advance during the Great Walks season (24 October 2017 - 30 April 2018).
During the Great Walks season the hut facilities include: bunks with mattresses in a communal sleeping layout, a fresh water supply, flushing toilets, wash basins with cold running water (but no showers), solar lighting, heating, cooking facilities with tables and seating (but no cooking utensils), and a resident DOC ranger who can tell you about the environment and weather, or help out should an emergency arise.
Outside the Great Walks season the hut facilities are reduced; gas is not provided, flush toilets are replaced with pit toilets, the water supply is limited and running water is turned off, there no rangers or emergency radio facilities, and beds are on a first come first served basis, as no bookings are required. Facilities on the track, such as bridges, are also reduced. Walking the track during this time should only be attempted by fit, experienced and well-equipped people.
At each of the scenic campsites on the track you'll find: an open cooking shelter, water on tap, a clean toilet, and a friendly hut warden (during the Great Walks season) who may visit to chat and check campsite tickets. Camping outside the designated campsites or huts is not permitted and the track is patrolled by DOC rangers.
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