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Routeburn Track

4 Days & 3 Nights
  • The Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s most impressive Great Walks
  • An alpine crossing from Fiordland to Mount Aspiring National Park
  • Tracks originally walked on by Maoris to search for precious jade
  • High ridges around Harris Saddle with majestic views in many directions
  • Sit beside Te Anau Lake and view the mountain skyline reflected in the water
Walk the Routeburn, one of New Zealand’s finest tracks and a renowned alpine crossing. This Great Walk takes you across the Southern Alps Main Divide and from Fiordland National Park, which covers 5% of New Zealand’s total land area to Mount Aspiring National Park, which has more than 100 glaciers and mountain ranges with high peaks over 2700m. With spectacular vistas over vast mountain ranges and valleys, you weave through tranquil alpine meadows, gardens, waterfalls and fairy glades. Views from Harris Saddle and Key Summit are rewards for some steep climbs. Settle to your very welcoming and comfortable B&B in Te Anau, and whilst on the track, stay in DOC huts and immerse yourself in this walking culture, locally known as “tramping”.

What To Expect

This walk is rated moderate. Even though the walks are not too long, there will be some steep climbs up to summits, but you will only be walking for a couple of days. Whilst on the track you will stay in dormitory huts and be carrying your own light-weight food and supplies. This Great Walk offers some of New Zealand’s ultimate walking and therefore carrying your own supplies will be very worthwhile.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night

This trip is suitable for:

Avid Adventurers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • National Parks & Trails
  • Alpine & Mountains

Grade & Terrain

Some sections of this walk are steep and rough, which is why it has been rated moderate. The elevation gains and losses are not too significant and the daily distances not too far.

The surface is usually gravel, rock or dirt, and like any track can get muddy and slippery in wet weather. Poor weather conditions can make this walk more challenging than usual, even in the Great Walks season.

Most rivers and waterways on these tracks have sturdy bridges. Occasionally there are also small streams that cross the track but are usually easy enough to step across safely. Be aware that in wet weather rivers can rise very quickly and flood the tracks.

Navigation

The Routeburn Track can be walked in both directions. However we recommend beginning the walk at The Divide and walking from south to north, finishing at the Routeburn Shelter, as there is less uphill in this direction and the logistics work really well for the best use of your time. The views are incredible in both directions.

The track is well-marked and signposted so you should not have a problem finding your way. GPX tracks are also accessible on the Macs Smartphone App, so you can simply follow the route on your phone if you wish.

Accommodation Information

1 Night in a B&B, 2 Nights in DOC Huts. This tour has varied accommodation, both basic, in the huts, contrasting with comfort on the first night. You will need to be flexible so that you can enjoy both of these experiences.

Please note that the DOC huts are subject to availability. There are a couple of other huts along the way that maybe used, however this may mean longer walking days. Before we book these alternate huts we will be sure to ask if this is something that suits you.

A friendly conservation ranger is located at each hut. They know the area well and can tell you about the environment and weather, or help out should an emergency arise.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is not available to solo walkers as the areas that are walked through are very remote and there is no mobile phone service. Single rooms are available on request on the first and last night and a supplement is payable.

Meals

Breakfast will be provided by your accommodation in Te Anau. Whilst hiking on the Routeburn Track, a delicious and easy to prepare food package is included just for you with local foods which are full of great taste and satisfaction, nutrition, and minimal waste. The food items chosen are lightweight, as you will be carrying this food yourself.

Your food package will be delivered to your accommodation in Te Anau the day before you start walking the track. Also included are cooking utensils, plates, a cooking pot, etc in order for you to prepare the food in the huts, where there are gas cookers.(There are no catering services in the huts)

Included
  • 1 Night in a B&B, 2 Nights in DOC (Department of Conservation) Huts
  • Personalised food package (for the 2 walking days)
  • Breakfast in Te Anau
  • A transfer to and from start and finish points (by bus) from Te Anau and to Queenstown or car relocation if you are renting a car
  • Gear and Food drop off in Te Anau
  • Information pack, Track information, Track Care Package
  • Quality equipment (i.e. sleeping bag and liner, rucksack, etc)
  • Access to the Macs Smartphone App with GPS Tracks
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support
  • ETA & IVL requests (mandatory as per 1 Oct 2019)
Excluded
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Te Anau
  • Travel from Queenstown
  • Dinner on Day 1
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal necessities
  • ETA & IVL requests (mandatory as per 1 Oct 2019)
Extras
  • Additional nights
  • Rental Car

When To Go

The Routeburn Track is very popular and there are limited places in the DOC huts. Therefore, you will have to book quite far in advance in order to be successful for the dates you require, especially if you wish to travel in the height of the season which is Jan/Feb. The Great Walks season runs from October to April. To avoid disappointment please plan your trip well in advance. (At least 6-12 months). You must be certain about your preferred dates when you book as no changes can be made later. 

Please be aware that we will not be able to fully confirm your trip until the New Zealand Department of Conservation opens up the bookings for the DOC Huts, which generally happens in June every year for the following season.  Our local partners will make sure to book your space as soon as they are able.

This walk is not available outside of the Great Walks season to our customers for a variety of reasons, but mainly because outside of these dates the huts are not bookable (they are first-come first-served), do not have DOC rangers present and facilities are also greatly reduced.

Why not try one of our alternate walks of New Zealand as well, such as the Kepler, Abel Tasman, Queen Charlotte or Kaikoura Coastal Track.

Time of Year

The best time of year to walk the Routeburn Track is in the Great Walks season, which is from October to April in New Zealand's spring, summer and autumn months. The weather will be more settled during these times of year, although it can be unpredictable at any time of year. Also when staying at the DOC Huts there will be a warden here during this time and also more facilities available.

Getting to the Start

To get to Te Anau you can fly into and out of Queenstown Airport. Some international airlines fly into Queenstown, including Qantas and Air New Zealand. However you can also take a domestic flight from any of the larger airports such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. From Queenstown you can either pick up a rental car and drive to Te Anau (2H) or you can take a bus. You can take a bus direct from the airport (2H15) but they only leave twice day. Check the timetable on the Intercity website.

* Please be aware that when booking flights from the UK to New Zealand you will arrive 2 days after you set off and on return you will arrive 1 day after you set off. So, for example, if you leave on a Tuesday you will arrive on a Thursday and on return if you leave on a Saturday you will arrive home on the Sunday. This is obviously because of the time it takes to get there but also because you are travelling back and forth across the International Date Line.  Similar principles apply when travelling from other places in Europe and from the USA and Canada. Please make sure that when you book you take this into consideration so that you are arriving on the correct day that the tour begins.

Getting from the End

You can either drive to Queenstown in your rental car, which has been relocated for you or take the included bus transfer from the last point of your walk, the Routeburn Shelter to Queenstown. As explained previously there is an airport in Queenstown which you may fly out of if you are taking an immediate onward journey.

Baggage Transfer

On this tour you will have to carry your own gear for the walk on the track, including your sleeping bag and liner, included food and cooking utensils.  Given that most customers are likely to be taking part in this walk as part of other travels in New Zealand, we provide everyone with a good quality lightweight Osprey rucksack and cover for the walk as part of the package. You can choose to bring your own rucksack should you wish, but if you do so, it must be of a minimum 50 litres capacity. Since you will have to carry your own pack we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to pack light! Please note that we can arrange to have your remaining luggage stored for you during the trip for a small fee should this be required.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack. On this tour we can provide you with the essential equipment for this tour locally.

Car Rental

If you wish to rent a car, please contact your Destination & Adventure Specialist.

Equipment

We can provide you with the following good-quality equipment locally if you do not wish to bring your own.

Adjustable Osprey pack and pack cover, Sea to Summit sleeping bag and liner, rain jacket and pants, cooking/eating utensils, first aid kit, inflatable pillow, hot drink thermos.

These items can be lent to you for your convenience and therefore you will not need to take these things to New Zealand with you. Please see your information pack which has more details on what to take with you on the track.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Te Anau and overnight Day 2 Optional Milford Sound Cruise. Walk from The Divide to Lake Mackenzie Hut 7.5 miles / 12 km Day 3 Walk to Routeburn Falls Hut 7 miles / 11.5 km Day 4 Walk to Routeburn Shelter and Onward Travel 5.5 miles / 8.8 km

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