Routeburn Track

One of the highlights of our trip thus far was doing the three-day Routeburn Track – an amazing ~25 mile trek (or “tramp” as the Kiwis appropriately call it) that is one of the nine NZ “Great Walks”, and the last family outing of our week together on the South Island (hard to believe it’s only been a week!).  We joined a group of 24 people doing a guided trip with Ultimate Hikes (gets very high marks!), and departed from Te ‘Anau to start the trip at the Divide.  We somehow managed to snag a virtually-unheard stretch of good weather for the full three days, and enjoyed yet more incredible sights along the way. Day one included a climb up to Key Summit, lunch at Lake Howden Hut, and a dramatic walk past Earland Falls…

…before descending to Lake Mackenzie and the welcome site of our lodge (complete with hot showers and a bunk room with the best view imaginable – too old for that camping stuff!).

Day 2 took us on a quick climb above Lake Mackenzie to reach more incredible views at Ocean Peak Corner, looking down the Hollyford Valley with distant views all the way to the Tasman Sea (another perfect clear blue sky day!).

We enjoyed views of the alpine flora (mountain daisies, gentians, & edelweiss)…

…as well as the snow-topped peaks at the Harris Saddle where we stopped for lunch, before climbing Conical Hill for an amazing panorama of the surrounding peaks.

After descending to Lake Harris & following the start of the Routeburn River, we spent the second night at Routeburn Falls Hut – another spectacular spot.

Day 3 ended with a steady descent into the Routeburn Valley, following water so clear and clean that we were encouraged to fill our drinking bottles directly from the stream – amazing!

After lunch at the river (and a bracing dip into the freezing cold water by the young folk – god bless ’em)…

…we ended the day with a peaceful descent to Road End.  We headed back to Queenstown filled with gratitude for this amazing experience, and said goodbye to the kids (Sam flying back to the US, and Abby, meeting up with friends to hike and explore for the next few months).  A memorable week, to be sure!

5 thoughts on “Routeburn Track

  1. Grips

    Wow what spectacular pictures! So glad you got that stretch of nice weather (is it or me or does Lee look a little cold in some of these pics?) Sounds like you guys packed in a lot in 1 week (particularly took note of the fishing and wine tasting…whaaattt?) Temps topping the 40s here..wahoo! Enjoy and we’ll be watching for Sam back stateside and safe travels to Abby! xo


  2. Margery Cooper

    Looks even better than the pre-voyage descriptions. And very impressed by your physical acumen. Keep enjoying it for all of us other middlin folk.

    PS: Why no mention on the blog of your trip to NYC?


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