tramping
New Zealand

Routeburn Track Great Walk

Quick Info

Routeburn Track Map
  • 3 day tramp joining Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks
  • 32 kilometre non circuit tramp
  • 4 huts
  • part of an old Maori route from the coast to collect greenstone (pounamu)
  • over 13,000 trampers complete the Routeburn each year
  • passes through beech forests and tussock land
  • native wildlife includes the endangered yellowhead (mohua) and blue duck (whio)

Huts and Times

StartDistance (kms)Time (hrs)EndBunksHut amenities
Routeburn Shelter 6.5 1.5 to 2 Routeburn Flats Hut 20 Tank water, gas heater
Routeburn Flats Hut 2.3 1 to 1.5 Routeburn Falls Hut 48 Tank water, log burner
Routeburn Falls Hut 11.3 4.5 to 6 Mackenzie Hut 50 Tank water, gas heater
Mackenzie Hut 8.6 3 to 4 Howden Hut 28 Tank water, gas heater
Howden Hut 3.4 1 to 1.5 The Divide    

Walk Description

The Routeburn Track follows a route joining the national parks of Mount Aspiring and Fiordland. The route forms part of an ancient Maori trail from Martins Bay on the West Coast to a pounamu source at the head of Lake Whakatipu-wai-Maori. Pounamu (greenstone) was used for making tools and weapons by the Maori people.

The route was also used by European settlers as a pathway from Lake Wakatipu to the Hollyford river and other valleys. Tourism has been popular in the area since the 1880s.

Beech features greatly in the forests around the Routeburn track, with red beech dominating at the start of the track. Silver beech takes over once the wetter areas are reached on the western section of the track.

Two endangered species call the Routeburn track home, the mohua (yellowhead) may be spotted towards the beginning of the track. It has a distinct yellow head and is about the size of a sparrow. The whio or blue duck is also endangered and may be spotted at Routeburn Flats or on tarns just past Routeburn Falls Hut.

There are a number of interesting side trips along the track. The first follows the northern branch of the Routeburn (five hours return) and provides views of Mt. Somnus, North Col and Mt. Nereus at the head of the valley.

At Harris Saddle there is a worthwhile side trip (two hours return) to the top of Conical Hill. From there are amazing views of the Hollyford Valley stretching its way to the Tasman Sea.

More views of the Hollyford Valley can be seen from Key Summit, a one hour side trip just after Howden Hut.

At Howden Hut, trampers have another option of the Greenstone Track which leads south and then east back to Lake Wakatipu. The track adds another three days onto the tramp.

How to get there

Again transport can be an issue with the Routeburn track as the track ends are over 300 kilometres apart by road. However transport can be arranged from Queenstown which is close to the start of the track, whilst the track end is on the busy Milford Sound road and a pickup can be arranged.

Queenstown and Te Anau have supermarkets for supplies and a vast range of accommodation.



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