Hiking the Routeburn Track: What You Need to Know

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper planning and preparation are essential when hiking the Routeburn Track to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • It is important to be aware of the trail description, highlights, and difficulty level to make informed decisions about hiking the Routeburn Track.
  • Understanding transportation options, including accessing the trailhead and available public transportation, is crucial for a smooth journey to and from the track.

As you lace up your boots and prepare for the adventure ahead, it’s essential to be well-informed about the Routeburn Track. In this section, we will provide you with a concise overview of this breathtaking trail, ensuring you are fully equipped to embark on this remarkable journey. Additionally, we will emphasize the importance of thorough planning and preparation, ensuring your hike is both safe and enjoyable. So, let’s dive into the details and discover what makes the Routeburn Track truly exceptional.

Overview of the Routeburn Track

The Routeburn Track is a well-known hiking trail in New Zealand. It’s famed for its stunning natural beauty! From beech forests to alpine meadows and stunning mountain vistas, there’s plenty to explore.

This track is 32 km long and usually takes 3-4 days to complete. The difficulty varies, with some uphill climbs and uneven terrain. You should plan ahead and consider transportation and accommodation options.

Safety should be your top priority. Be aware of the weather conditions and potential avalanche risks. Rivers should be crossed cautiously. Wildlife may be encountered, so be prepared.

Experienced hikers can offer great advice, such as suitable clothing and navigation tips. They may even share secret spots for amazing photos! Utilize these shared experiences and make the most of your adventure!

Importance of Planning and Preparation

Planning and preparation are key when starting the Routeburn Track. It’s essential to plan and prepare for the journey ahead, taking into account difficulty, fitness level, weather, safety risks and more.

To have an enjoyable hike, understand the trail description and highlights. Also, evaluate your fitness in relation to the trail’s difficulty to see if more training is needed.

Look at access to the trailhead and transportation options. Understand how to reach the start and explore different transport options.

Accommodation choices include serviced huts or camping – decide based on your preferences and plans. Book in advance to secure availability.

Having a planned schedule can help a successful trek. Use suggested 3- or 4-day itineraries to break down the hike into manageable sections.

Safety is key. Know weather patterns and avalanche risks. Have an understanding of river crossings and water safety. Be aware of wildlife presence and insect safety precautions.

By paying attention to planning and preparations, hikers can maximize enjoyment and minimize risks on the Routeburn Track.

Routeburn Track Information

Discover all you need to know about the Routeburn Track. Uncover the trail description, highlights, key points of interest, and the trail’s difficulty and fitness level. Get ready to embark on an adventure like no other!

Trail Description and Highlights

The Routeburn Track, a renowned hiking trail in New Zealand, offers a breathtaking experience. Known for its stunning landscapes, alpine meadows, dense forests and majestic mountains, hikers can also expect pristine rivers and waterfalls. Plus, it grants spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness.

As hikers progress, they will come across several noteworthy features. The famous Harris Saddle offers panoramas of Fiordland National Park and Mount Aspiring National Park. Also, Key Summit is a popular side trip for its remarkable views of the South Island’s Southern Alps.

The trail presents a range of difficulty and fitness levels. Some sections may be easy, while others pose more challenges. Thus, hikers must assess their abilities and pick the right sections.

The Routeburn Track provides a memorable experience. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a nature lover, this trail promises an adventure like no other.

Key Points of Interest

The Routeburn Track is a famous hiking trail in New Zealand. It has many amazing attractions and unforgettable experiences for hikers. The Key Points of Interest along this track show the beauty of the area. Below is a table of some of these highlights:

Point of Interest Description
Mackenzie Hut Views of snow-capped peaks and valleys. Ideal for photography and nature lovers.
Earland Falls 174 meters tall waterfall. Provides misty spray and a break during the hike.
Harris Saddle 1,255 meters above sea level. Stunning views of mountains and lakes.
Lake Mackenzie Clear water reflecting the mountains. A tranquil setting.

These are only a few of the Key Points of Interest that make the Routeburn Track so special. Every point offers unique natural wonders. Explorers can witness diverse flora and fauna, sunrises and sunsets. Every moment on the Routeburn Track is an adventure.

Trail Difficulty and Fitness Level

The trail difficulty and fitness level on the Routeburn Track are key to consider for hikers. Evaluate your physical preparedness before beginning the adventure.

The track can consist of tough ascents, narrow pathways, and rough ground. Alternatively, some sections may offer a more casual hike. Look out for pristine lakes, stunning mountain views, and various vegetation. Natural obstructions like river crossings and avalanche risks may be encountered too.

Fitness level needed is moderate to high. Have good cardio, strength, and stamina to manage the steep hills and long distances. It’s recommended to have prior hiking experience.

Also take note of weather conditions and seasonal changes that can affect the trail difficulty. Rain could make the trail slippery while winter brings snow to higher altitudes.

To guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience, have proper gear, obey safety rules, and plan ahead for transportation and accommodation.

Trailhead Options and Transportation

For those planning to hike the Routeburn Track, understanding the trailhead options and transportation is crucial. This section will guide you through accessing the trailhead, along with the various transportation options available. From shuttle services to private vehicles, we’ll explore how to reach the starting point of this scenic track, ensuring a smooth and convenient journey. So, let’s dive in and uncover the essential details for a successful start to your Routeburn adventure.

Accessing the Trailhead

It’s important to access the Trailhead of the Routeburn Track in the best way possible. Follow these four steps to make sure you get the most out of your hiking adventure:

  1. First, research the best access point for your itinerary. There are multiple options, such as Routeburn Shelter and The Divide. Consider factors like distance, facilities, and transportation options when choosing.
  2. Plan your transportation ahead. If you choose to drive, make sure you have a reliable vehicle and know the route. Public transportation is also an option – like buses or shuttles – to reduce the need for parking at the trailhead.
  3. Check for any restrictions or permits required to access the trailhead. Some areas may have limited entry or conservation requirements. Be aware of any special considerations or regulations.
  4. Prepare for any specific conditions or challenges related to the trailhead. This could include weather, road closures, or difficult terrain. Stay informed by checking local news or contacting park authorities before your trip.

Remember that each trailhead may have unique features or considerations. Always refer to reliable sources of information specific to your chosen access point. Get advice from experienced hikers if needed.

Don’t miss out on this breathtaking experience – take the necessary steps beforehand and be ready to enjoy what awaits you on this remarkable track!

Transportation Options

Reaching the start of the Routeburn Track can be done in many ways. These provide hikers choices and ease when planning their trip.

  • Drive: Hikers can take control of their schedule and carry all they need by driving. Parking is available close to the trailhead.
  • Public Transport: If no vehicle, buses and shuttles get hikers to the trailhead.
  • Charter Services: Companies offer door-to-door trips, taking care of all logistics.
  • Ridesharing: Carpools or rideshares reduce costs and environmental impact.
  • Biking: For those seeking adventure, biking to the trailhead is an option.

Hikers have the freedom to choose what suits them best. Research and plan according to budget, time and preferences. Doing this helps ensure a smooth journey as they experience the New Zealand hiking adventure.

Accommodation Options

Looking for a place to stay while hiking the Routeburn Track? Look no further! In this section, we’ll explore the various accommodation options available to hikers. From serviced huts to camping sites, we’ve got you covered. Stay tuned for essential booking and reservation information to make your wilderness adventure a hassle-free one. So pack your backpack and let’s dive into the world of Routeburn Track accommodation!

Serviced Huts

These serviced huts boast essential amenities like beds, cooking facilities, and toilets. Hikers can take advantage of pre-booked stays and not have to worry about extra gear. Plus, they can meet other trekkers and share stories. The serviced huts provide a great break after a long hike.

Reserving a stay in a serviced hut is a must! This way, you can make sure the hut is available and plan your journey accordingly.


For those who crave a deeper bond with nature and prefer a minimalistic approach, camping on the Routeburn Track is a unique experience. It provides a chance to marvel at the incredible natural surroundings and sleep amongst majestic landscapes. But, remember: camping spots are scarce! Reserve ahead of time to guarantee you get one.

  • Gorgeous Campsites: Along the track, you can find designated campsites that provide spectacular views.
  • Facilities: These places generally provide basic facilities such as toilets and cooking shelters.
  • Wilderness Feel: Camping allows you to have an authentic wilderness experience, sleeping under the stars and being woken up by nature’s serene sounds.
  • Simplicity: It’s a more inexpensive option compared to serviced huts.
  • Pack Weight: By camping, you can carry lighter loads since you don’t need to take bedding or cooking equipment.
  • Booking Info: Advance booking is needed for camping spots along the trail due to limited availability. Reservations can be made on the official website or at authorized booking centers.

Booking and Reservations: Securing a spot on the Routeburn Track is like finding a needle in a haystack. So make sure to book in advance!

Booking and Reservation Information

When aiming to secure your spot on the Routeburn Track, it is a must to have all your booking and reservation details on hand. To make the experience easy and stress-free, it is best to make bookings in advance through the sources provided by the relevant authorities.

Two options are available for accommodation on the trail: serviced huts and camping. Serviced huts are a more comfortable option with bedding, cooking areas and toilets. Due to their popularity, reservations must be made early. Camping is a choice for those after a more rustic experience. Designated campsites have basic facilities like water sources and toilets. Bookings for both options can be made through the DOC system. This lets you pick dates and accommodation and provides real-time availability updates. It is suggested to become familiar with the system and make reservations early.

Bear in mind that spots on the Routeburn Track are limited, particularly in peak seasons. To increase chances of getting desired accommodations, book in advance or choose shoulder season dates with less demand.

Whether you have 3 or 4 days, the Routeburn Track has incredible hikes and amazing adventures that will linger in your memory.

Itinerary Options and Recommended Hikes

Looking to hike the Routeburn Track? Get ready to explore the stunning landscapes and diverse trails it has to offer. In this section, we’ll dive into itinerary options and recommended hikes for your Routeburn adventure. From the 3-Day Routeburn Track Itinerary to the 4-Day Routeburn Track Itinerary, discover the exciting paths you can take as you immerse yourself in the beauty of this renowned trail. Lace up your boots and let’s get hiking!

3-Day Routeburn Track Itinerary

The 3-Day Routeburn Track Itinerary is the perfect guide for hikers aiming to explore this iconic trail. Marvel in the breathtaking views and challenging terrains that this journey offers. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, this itinerary will help you make the most of your trip.

  1. Step 1: Start at the trailhead and let the natural beauty of the track surround you. Follow the well-marked path as it winds through beech forests. Pass picturesque bridges and stunning waterfalls. Take in the towering peaks and deep valleys that dominate the scene.
  2. Step 2: As you go, be captivated by key points like Harris Saddle and Conical Hill. These areas display mountains, lakes, and valleys in panoramic view. Take a break and use your camera to document your adventure.
  3. Step 3: Challenge yourself with the tougher parts of the trail. This includes steep climbs and river crossings. The level of difficulty changes along the journey, so pace yourself and pay attention to the weather and terrain.

Covering 39 kilometers (24 miles) in three days can be hard, but the rewards are worth it. Enjoy the peacefulness of nature and take home unforgettable memories from one of New Zealand’s most spectacular hiking spots. Make sure to pack the right gear, clothing, and supplies for a comfortable experience. Follow safety tips from expert hikers who have conquered the path before you.

4-Day Routeburn Track Itinerary

The 4-Day Routeburn Track Itinerary is perfect for hikers who want to explore the incredible beauty of this trail. This plan ensures you can get the most out of the highlights and obstacles you’ll encounter.

  1. Step 1: Start your adventure at the Trailhead. You can access it by driving or using public transport. Directions are in Section 7.
  2. Step 2: Here’s a day-by-day breakdown. On Day 1, start the Routeburn Track from the trailhead. Take in the breathtaking scenery and visit Harris Saddle and Lake Mackenzie. You can camp or stay in a serviced hut.
  3. On Day 2, travel through diverse landscapes like forests and meadows. Check out Routeburn Falls and Conical Hill before your accommodation for the night.
  4. Day 3 is full of amazing sights! Traverse valleys and mountains. Don’t miss Earland Falls and Key Summit before reaching your destination.
  5. On Day 4, you finish the Routeburn Track. Admire panoramic views like Rock Burn Shelter before reaching the end point.
  6. Step 3: Before starting, read Section 6 for safety info. Be aware of changing weather, river crossings, wildlife, etc.

For a great experience, remember:

  • The trail difficulty level ranges from moderate to challenging, so train beforehand.
  • Find reservation information for huts and campsites in Section 4.3.

Let me share a story from a hiker who followed the 4-Day Routeburn Track Itinerary:

“I was amazed by the different landscapes. From forests to snow-capped peaks, each day was unique. The unpredictable weather made it even more exciting. Meeting fellow hikers was great too – we crossed rivers together and shared stories around campfires. The Routeburn Track was an amazing adventure!”

Safety Tips and Considerations

Explore essential safety tips and considerations for hiking the renowned Routeburn Track. Learn about weather and avalanche risks, river crossings and water safety, as well as important precautions to take regarding wildlife and insect safety. Stay informed and prepared to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience on this spectacular trail.

Weather and Avalanche Risk

The Routeburn Track is a scenic and popular hiking trail with breathtaking views. But it’s important to be aware of the changing weather and potential avalanches. Weather can be unpredictable with rapid changes. So, hikers need the right clothing and gear. Wind and rain can make sections difficult and visibility can be limited. Avalanches are a risk, especially in winter or after snowfall. So, check forecasts before setting off and take safety precautions.

River levels can rise quickly after rain, making crossings risky. Be aware of hazards like unstable ice bridges. Wildlife encounters are not uncommon – remember to respect the kea parrots and their mischievous behavior! To have a successful and safe experience, stay up to date with weather and avalanche reports. And maintain a sense of humor for wet and wild adventures. Being prepared is the key!

River Crossings and Water Safety

Crossing rivers on the Routeburn Track can be risky. Understand the dangers and take precautions to stay safe.

  1. Step 1: Check the depth and current of the river. Look for fast-flowing water or deep spots that can make it hard to balance.
  2. Step 2: Find the safest crossing spot. Look for wider sections or shallow spots without rocks or trees. Avoid areas with rapids or strong currents.
  3. Step 3: Test the water before crossing. Use a pole or stick to measure the depth. If it’s knee-high, wait or get help from experienced hikers.
  4. Step 4: Use proper techniques. Face upstream and keep feet pointed downstream. Take small steps, keeping three points of contact with the riverbed.

Be aware of weather changes that can affect rivers. Always check forecasts before the hike.

Wildlife and Insect Safety

Wildlife and insects are a must-see on the Routeburn Track. Hikers should be aware of potential risks and challenges they may pose. Thus, safety measures and precautions are necessary for an enjoyable experience.

Encounters with wildlife like kea parrots and mountain goats are common. Though exciting, hikers must remember to keep a safe distance and not feed or approach these animals. Keas are curious, but can become aggressive if provoked. Respect for their space is key.

Insect safety is equally important. Sandflies and mosquitoes are present and bites can be uncomfortable. Therefore, hikers should bring insect repellent and wear proper clothing.

First aid kits should include antihistamines and bite ointments in case of allergic reactions or insect bites. Knowing about different plants and animals is also beneficial.

Wildlife and insects are part of the Routeburn Track’s ecosystem. By being aware and taking precautions, hikers can enjoy the beauty of this stunning trail. Despite the trailhead being somewhat tricky to find, the Routeburn Track is totally worth it!

Transportation and Access

Driving to the Trailhead, Public Transportation, and Dog Access—get ready to explore the various modes of transportation and access options for hiking the Routeburn Track, ensuring a smooth journey to this breathtaking adventure. Discover the convenience of driving to the trailhead or utilizing public transportation, along with important information on dog access. Plan your trip wisely and prepare for an unforgettable experience in the stunning beauty of the Routeburn Track.

Driving to the Trailhead

Driving to the start of the Routeburn Track is a popular choice for hikers. Here’s a 4-step guide to get you there:

  1. Plan Your Route:
    • Map out your journey before you hit the road.
    • Double-check for any road closures or alternate routes due to weather or maintenance.
    • Use online maps or GPS to get the most efficient route.
  2. Gear Up:
    • Make sure your car is in good condition.
    • Check tire pressure, fuel levels, brakes, and other safety precautions.
    • Pack essential items like spare tires, emergency supplies, and tools.
  3. Consider Driving Conditions:
    • Access roads can be different depending on the season and weather.
    • Be aware of potential hazards like steep sections, gravel surfaces, narrow bridges, etc.
  4. Travel Responsibly:
    • Follow all speed limits and traffic regulations.
    • Be careful of wildlife crossings and avoid animal collisions.

For more detailed info, check out the rest of the article.

Public Transportation

The Routeburn Track is a great spot for hikers to explore! It is easily accessible with public transportation. Several bus services offer rides to and from the trailhead. These cost-effective buses provide reliable transportation for hikers without their own vehicles.

Timetables and routes are tailored to hikers’ needs. Schedules are designed for peak hiking times. Fare info can be found on websites or by contacting companies directly.

Book tickets in advance, particularly during busy seasons. That way, availability is guaranteed and journeys are planned out.

Be aware: this text may not have all the details about specific bus services. Consult local tourism offices or visit websites for up-to-date info on public transportation to the trailhead.

Also, leave your dog at home – this intense adventure isn’t suitable for them.

Dog Access

Dogs are not allowed on the Routeburn Track, as it is a protected national park. However, dog owners can still explore the area with their furry friends! There are several nearby trails and areas that allow dogs on leashes, providing alternative options to enjoy the stunning scenery. Also, Fiordland National Park and Mount Aspiring National Park have dog-friendly trails and other recreational areas.

It’s important for dog owners to research and plan ahead for their visits, as different parks have different rules and restrictions regarding access. There may also be pet-friendly accommodation close to the track. When hiking with your pup, make sure you know the local regulations and prepare for amazing views and stories!

Personal Experiences and Recommendations

Looking for firsthand tips and recommendations from hikers who have trekked the Routeburn Track? Want to capture stunning photography and be mesmerized by scenic views along the way? In this section, we gather personal experiences, insider insights, and practical advice that will enrich your journey on the Routeburn Track.

Tips and Insights from Hikers

Hikers offer key insights for those venturing on the Routeburn Track. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Pack light – just essentials such as lightweight camping gear and weather-appropriate clothing.
  2. Plan ahead and book accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons.
  3. Don’t forget to stay hydrated – bring a sufficient supply of water or a water filtration system.
  4. Respect nature – leave no trace, keep the trail clean, and follow designated campsite areas.
  5. Dress in layers for unpredictable weather.
  6. Take your time – enjoy the scenery at a comfortable pace.
  7. Foot care is essential – invest in sturdy hiking boots and moisture-wicking socks.
  8. And don’t forget the amazing wildlife encounters – like a memorable Kea encounter!

Photography and Scenic Views

The Routeburn Track is an ideal destination for photographers seeking scenic views! Capture towering, snow-capped mountains, beautiful alpine lakes, and picturesque waterfalls. Nature lovers can also spot vibrant wildflowers, native birds, and other animals! Plus, watch the sun rise or set over the mountains and capture these special moments forever. Certain sections of the trail, such as Harris Saddle, also provide panoramic views of Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks. Don’t forget your camera – the Routeburn Track is full of memorable moments waiting to be captured!


The Routeburn Track is a must-visit for outdoor lovers! It provides an unforgettable journey through New Zealand’s beauty. You’ll be rewarded with stunning scenery, diverse landscapes, and well-maintained facilities. Plus, the track is well-marked and maintained, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. You’ll also get to explore beautiful alpine environments and see unique wildlife. All in all, hiking the Routeburn Track offers a challenging and breathtaking adventure!

Some Facts About Hiking the Routeburn Track: What You Need to Know:

  • ✅ The Routeburn Track is a 33-kilometer-long hiking trail in New Zealand’s Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. (Sources: Team Research, inafarawayland.com, laidbacktrip.com, wanderingwheatleys.com, doc.govt.nz)
  • ✅ The trail is challenging and requires planning and preparation, including booking huts and campsites in advance. (Sources: Team Research, inafarawayland.com, laidbacktrip.com, wanderingwheatleys.com, doc.govt.nz)
  • ✅ There are two trailheads for the Routeburn Track, Routeburn Shelter near Glenorchy and The Divide on Milford Road. (Sources: Team Research, inafarawayland.com, laidbacktrip.com, wanderingwheatleys.com, doc.govt.nz)
  • ✅ Accommodation options on the trail include huts and campsites, with huts providing bunk beds, kitchen facilities, and gas stoves. (Sources: Team Research, inafarawayland.com, laidbacktrip.com, wanderingwheatleys.com, doc.govt.nz)
  • ✅ The Routeburn Track can be hiked in 2 to 3 days, and there are options for day hikes and extensions like the Key Summit. (Sources: Team Research, inafarawayland.com, laidbacktrip.com, wanderingwheatleys.com, doc.govt.nz)

FAQs about Hiking The Routeburn Track: What You Need To Know

FAQs: Hiking the Routeburn Track: What You Need to Know

1. When is the best season to hike the Routeburn Track?

The best season to hike the Routeburn Track is from November to late April during the Great Walks season. During this time, there are more facilities available and fewer hazards.

2. What are the safety concerns when hiking the Routeburn Track?

Hiking the Routeburn Track during the winter season (May to October) requires special skills and preparation due to cold and wet conditions, ice, snow, and short daylight hours. It is only recommended for experienced and well-equipped hikers.

3. How long is the Routeburn Track?

The Routeburn Track is a 33-kilometer one-way track. Most walkers take 3 days and 2 nights to complete the track, but it can be done in as little as 2 days for relatively fit hikers.

4. Can I combine the Routeburn Track with the Greenstone-Caples track for easier transportation?

Yes, it is possible to combine the Routeburn Track with the Greenstone-Caples track for easier and cheaper transport options. This allows you to start or finish at different trailheads.

5. How do I book huts and campsites along the Routeburn Track?

During the Great Walks season, bookings for huts and campsites along the Routeburn Track are required and can be made in advance through the Department of Conservation’s Booking Portal. Outside of the Great Walks season, huts are first come, first served.

6. How can I arrange transportation to and from the Routeburn Track?

Transportation to and from the Routeburn Track can be arranged through shuttle bus services, car transport services, or hitchhiking. It’s important to plan ahead and consider the availability of transportation options.

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