Routeburn Track, NZ

Discussion in 'Trips Reports' started by Lempo, Oct 13, 2019 at 12:05 AM.

  1. Lempo

    Lempo Summit Camper

    Uploaded a video from our Routeburn Track 3 hike from last year. We stayed 2 nights at DOC (Department of Conservation) huts, so there was no need to carry a shelter. Usually the direction is to do it from the Divide to Shelter. We drove a rental to the Shelter and did the track in reverse, as this means it's 1 day of slow ascent, 2nd day in the mountains, and day 3 is a steep decline. We used a relocation service for the car. Basically we left a key in a locked case attached to the car, a runner would come and relocate the car to the end and then would run the track back to the other side. On day 3 we met one of these runners. He said in some days he'd run the track 2 or even 3 times as there isn't enough runners.

    Day 1: We got a later start as it was pouring down and we didn't get to the Shelter until around 11am. This meant the streams and waterfalls were flowing heavy. Luckily after couple of hours the rain ended and since were late to start, the water levels had leveled down to reasonable for crossings. Couple of hours in we arrived at Routeburn Flats Hut, which is a popular day hike destination. We had a break and started out ascent to Routeburn Falls. So far the trail had been pretty level, but here the ascent started. The trail was much more challenging and the last km was quite steep scrambling over the rocky trail. We arrived to the hut, checked in, made dinner and called it a night. The hut had 4 bunk beds per partition. We managed to get the bottom bunks.

    Day 2: Weather was clearer and cooler. We were already quite high up, but there was a bit more climbing. In the first couple of kms, the best views unravel in my opinion, just before Harris Saddle hut. In the video you see a photo of the lake with a beautiful trail going by the mountainside on the left. After Harris Saddle the trail undulates slowly to the Mackenzie Hut which is by a light green lake. This can be seen in the video at the end of the day 2.

    Day 3: There's a bit of a climb to start up with and then the trail traverses along the mountainside. We were a bit unlucky to have lots of low clouds so we didn't get to enjoy the great views as much, only glimpses, but the sun was shining when we walked through the 'Orchard'. The 'Orchard' is an opening, almost like a planted park with bushes. It would make a nice camping site, but camping is not allowed there. The trail then drops down to the Lake Howden hut, where we had a lunch break. After that there's one last climb until the trail starts to descend quite rapidly. We met lots of day hikers from the Divide end coming to see the views of Key Summit, which is close to the hut. We finally switchback to the Divide parking lot and our rental is waiting for us. Then it was a 3h drive to Queenstown for a shower and a Fergburger.

    Here more info if you're interested. DOC

    cathyjc and rikdon like this.
  2. Lamont-Cranston

    Lamont-Cranston Section Hiker

    G'day, was this Jan/December?
  3. Lempo

    Lempo Summit Camper

    This was end of March.
    Lamont-Cranston likes this.

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