Trek Routeburn Track, One of New Zealand’s Great Walks

in New Zealand

Routeburn Track in New Zealand’s South Island is regarded as one of the country’s Nine Great Walks.

It might not be as imposing as its big brother, the Milford Track, but it’s much more achievable for novice adventurers. In fact, Kiwi explorer Sir Edmund Hillary called the path his favorite in the country.

It may be smaller than the Milford Track, but it’s certainly not tiny. The track extends for 32 kilometers in the beautiful Mt. Aspiring National Park. Most hikers complete the course in around three days. There are four Department of Conservation sanctioned huts and two campsites for overnight stays on the Routeburn Track. Camping outside specific designated areas is prohibited.

Routeburn Track starts near the beech forests of Te Anau. Despite the natural surrounds, the path is clear and easy to walk. At least, it is at first. Soon the trail decides you’ve been taking it too easy, and punishes you with a series of hairpin bends.

Stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with a scene which could easily have come from the pages of a fairytale. There are rows of identical mountains, each capped with snow, and cascading streams. If you’re feeling thirsty don’t hesitate to stop and take a sip; the water is clean and icy cold.

The final section is again challenging, with a downhill track which winds through more forests. Thankfully it all ends near the Glenorchy Pub. Clearly you’ll have earned that pint of ice cold beer.

Hikers are free to walk Routeburn Track independently, but if you’re not feeling confident you might consider joining a guided tour. Ultimate Hikes runs the only Department of Conservation approved tour concession for overnight guided walks on the track during peak season.

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