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Ultimate Hikes The Routeburn Track Guided Hike New Zealand

Ultimate Hikes Routeburn Track Guided Walk is a 3 day / 2 night Queenstown to Queenstown all-inclusive guided walk traversing sections of the Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks. The package includes all transport, accommodation, meals, snacks, celebration dinner, backpacks and rain jackets. Accommodation is in luxury lodges and you will be led by expert Ultimate Hikes guides.

The Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountain country between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of New Zealand's Southern Alps.

The Routeburn Track passes through two national parks, Fiordland and Mount Aspiring, and is part of Te Wahipounamu, South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. The area is a haven for native birdlife and the variety of landscapes will astound you: mountainous peaks; sheer rock faces; alpine basins; pristine lakes; cascading waterfalls; luxuriant forest; turquoise rivers and million dollar views around every corner.

A pre-departure briefing is held at The Ultimate Hikes Queenstown office on the afternoon prior to the commencement of your walk, check in at 3.45pm for a 4pm start

Fitness: The walk is neither easy nor difficult. They are a challenge which people of all ages and abilities will relish. To enjoy your walk you need to be able to carry a medium sized backpack containing your personal belongings weighing 5-7kg (10-14lbs) for 6-8 hours over 15-21kms (9-13 miles) of mountain tracks each day.

Departures: 3 Days, 2 nights, departs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. 1 November to 30 April

Please click here for Routeburn Track accommodation, food & refreshments


Day One:
Queenstown/The Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Distance: 14km / 8.7 miles
Time: 5-6 hours walking

Your Ultimate Hikes guided Routeburn Track adventure begins with a coach ride from Queenstown to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road. 

You will stop for morning tea in Te Anau before continuing on to the Divide where your Ultimate Hikes are the company that operate this guided hike guided walk starts. You climb a well-graded track through Silver Beech forest to the Key Summit turnoff.  From here you leave the forest for the alpine environment of Key Summit, where you will have the first of those breathtaking Routeburn views with a panorama of the Hollyford, Greenstone and Eglington Valleys.

You then descend to Lake Howden hut for a hot drink and picnic lunch, before gradually climbing through lush Silver Beech forest to the base of Earland Falls. Continue traversing around the mountainside with the glimpses of the Hollyford Valley just a teaser for what is to come tomorrow. Pass through the natural clearing of the Orchard before descending into the Mackenzie basin. Lake MacKenzie is 5 minutes further on from the lodge, a good place take it all in on your first night away from it all.

Day Two:
Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls
Distance: 15km / 9.4 miles
Time: 5-7 hours walking

Today is divided into three distinct sections: the climb out of the Mackenzie Basin to Ocean Peak Corner, the traverse across the Hollyford Face to the Harris Saddle and the descent to Routeburn Falls.

From the lodge you skirt Lake Mackenzie and follow the track into the forest. As the track starts to climb you leave the trees and enter the alpine world of daisies, buttercups, gentians and edelweiss. From the the first daisies in November to the last gentians in April the track winds through one of the greatest natural gardens on earth.

The traverse along the Hollyford Face is for many people the most spectacular scenery of the whole track. With the Darran Mountains in front of you and the Hollyford Valley far below, you are in big country. After lunch at the Harris Saddle the views get even better if you climb Conical Hill with a 360 degree panorama, it seems like you are on top of the world.

Return to the shelter, pick up your pack and begin your descent into the Routeburn Valley. After walking around Lake Harris you come into more intimate terms with the mountains towering above the upper reaches of the Routeburn River. Just before your arrival at the lodge you are greeted by the Routeburn Falls and stunning views of the lower valley.

Day Three:
Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road
Distance: 10km / 6.1 miles
Time: 3-4 hours walking

Your last day is the least strenuous, a nice way to wind down and take time to enjoy the environment.

The descent from Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Flats takes you through a rich mixed Beech forest as you slowly lose altitude and reach the valley floor. Morning tea is at Routeburn Flats Hut, set in natural grasslands surrounded by mountains rising straight up from the flat valley floor.

Below the flats the Routeburn River enters its gorge, surging among boulders in frothing white torrents at one turn and resting in the clear jade pools at the next before finally disappearing underground at the Sump. Lunch is right by the river at Forge Flat, you may even be inspired to take a plunge; your guides will encourage you with this!

From here it's a gentle downhill stroll to the end of the track, but not before you pass through the Red Beech section with it's huge gnarled ancient forest giants.  A coach will be waiting at the road end to take you back to Queenstown stopping at Glenorchy for a group photo.  

Ultimate Hikes are the company that operate this guided hike

See also a one day guided walk on the Routeburn Track


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Revised: January 11, 2010