The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular multi-day walks, and one of its so called Great Walks. It passes through two of NZ’s most beautiful national parks, Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. There’s quintessential NZ scenery the whole way, including sparkling alpine lakes, lush beech forest and towering rocky peaks. And at roughly 33km one-way it is short enough for less experienced trampers to take on.
The walk is usually done over two or three days with accommodation at serviced huts. We had previously done sections of it as day-walks, (to Routeburn Flats, to Harris Saddle & Conical Hill, and to Key Summit & Lake Howden), but my wife Sophia had a window of opportunity to do the whole thing in January 2022, hence this new post. Track notes at the end.
Routeburn Track: The Scenery
I’ve mixed in photos here from multiple occasions, so don’t be confused by the changing weather conditions. (Although the weather can be all over the place, so it’s not that unrealistic!) Sophia didn’t have the best weather so there are just a few pics from Harris Saddle to Lake Mackenzie, and just one (of Earland Falls) from there to Lake Howden, which she thought was a less interesting section than the rest anyway. (The shots from Key Summit will give you an idea of the scenery in the surrounding area).
There’s still an overwhelming amount of beautiful scenery, so enjoy this vicarious trip along the Routeburn…
Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Falls
Routeburn Falls to Harris Saddle & Conical Hill
Conical Hill Side Trip
Fiordland Section including Key Summit
Key Summit Side Trip
The route from Routeburn Shelter to Harris Saddle and side trip to Conical Hill depicted here. The track continues south from Harris Saddle.
Like most people, Sophia walked the route from the Routeburn Shelter near Glenorchy to The Divide Shelter in Fiordland, although you can start at either end. She walked it comfortably in two days with an overnight stay at Lake Mackenzie Hut. Some people might stay another night at Routeburn Falls Hut. You can also stay at Routeburn Flats Hut. (Lake Howden Hut was destroyed in a landslide.) I recommend both side trips, to Key Summit (easy) and Conical Hill (harder).
There’s plenty more information all over the internet, but the DOC brochure is a good start.