Grand Traverse - Ultimate Hikes

The Grand Traverse is for those with adventurous spirits; combining the peaceful Greenstone Valley with the Routeburn Track for one unforgettable journey.


Track Details

Days required: 6

75 Kms / 46.6 miles

Track difficulty: Moderate


The logistics and planning required for a 6 day walk on the Routeburn and Greenstone Tracks can be a little overwhelming. So we've planned out your whole itinerary to make sure that you are able to relax and simply enjoy your Grand Traverse Guided Walk.

From your Pre-Track Briefing to ensure that you are adequately prepared, to lunch stops throughout each day, ensuring that you don't miss any of the track highlights or side tracks. We've thought of everything to ensure your safety and comfort.


Day before departure: Pre Track Briefing

On the afternoon before your departure you are required to attend a Pre-Track Briefing at the Ultimate Hikes Centre, Ground Floor, The Station Building, Queenstown.

Here you will receive a complete outline of your walk, collect equipment, purchase last minute items, complete the required medical forms, and ask answer any questions that you may have.  It is also a good opportunity to meet your fellow walkers.

Please advise our reservations department if you are unable to attend the Pre-Track Briefing (strongly advised to attend).


Day 1 : Glenorchy - Steele Creek

Your morning coach trip from Queenstown follows Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy, and around the lake to the mouth of the fabled Greenstone River, where you will start the walk. You will follow the Greenstone track into the stately red beech forest, returning to the river with views of Mt Christina as you walk up the final river flats to Steele Creek Lodge.


Day 2: Steele Creek to Lake McKellar

After a hearty breakfast, walk through a sea of red tussock on the river flats. Ancient pines and cottonwoods cling to the sheer mountain sides, which come alive with water on rainy days. The track allows spectacular views of the Ailsa and Livingstone Ranges as you approach Lake McKellar and the lodge.

Day 3: Lake McKellar

This is your chance to explore the area on foot, row on the lake or just relax and read a novel.  Take a stroll to the waterfall, or hike up to the lookout for a view down the river flats and your first glimpse of the Routeburn Track.

Day 4: Lake McKellar - Lake Mackenzie

Today you will cross the main divide via the Greenstone Saddle and glimpse mountains and lakes through lush forest. You meet the Routeburn Track at Lake Howden and have the option to make the ascent to Key Summit. Here you can sit among the alpine plants and gaze down three valleys from which water fl ows to three different coasts. You then descend back down 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, quite a sight in wet weather! You will look over the Hollyford Valley to the ice capped Darran Mountains before descending to the splendid lodge at Lake Mackenzie where refreshments, a hot shower, three course meal and a comfortable bed are waiting.

Day 5: Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls

You leave the ancient forest draped in moss and lichen and enter the world of daisies, buttercups, gentians and edelweiss. On a clear day you have a full vista of the Darran Mountains across the Hollyford Valley, which slices through Fiordland to the distant Tasman Sea at Martin's Bay. After lunch at the Harris Saddle, you can ascend Conical Hill for a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks. After walking around Lake Harris you descend into the upper basins of the Routeburn Valley, with the towering mountains above. Spend your final night of luxury at the beautifully located Routeburn Falls Lodge where you will be treated to a special celebratory dinner.

Day 6: Routeburn Falls to Road End

Take time to enjoy the dramatic landscape around the Falls, before descending to the alpine pastures of the Routeburn Flats. Your guides will take the scenic route through the meadows and find the deepest green pool for you to picnic beside. The track shadows the river as it roars through a magnificent gorge before plunging beneath the unyielding rocks at the Sump. From here it is a gentle walk through the beech forest to the Road End. A coach will take you back to Queenstown, stopping at the small town of Glenorchy on the way.

Facilities in our Greenstone Track wilderness lodges include:

Comfortable beds with duvets and pillows
Hot water showers
Shampoo and conditioner
Flushing toilets
Hand washing facilities and washing powder
Full kitchen and lodge staff
Selection of NZ wines, beers and soft drinks for purchase

Facilities in our Routeburn Track wilderness lodges include:

Comfortable beds with duvets and pillows
Hot water showers
Shampoo, conditioner and hair dryers
Flushing toilets
Generated electricity until 10pm each evening
Hand washing facilities and washing powder
Drying rooms
Full kitchen and lodge staff
Selection of NZ wines, beers and soft drinks for purchase

Enjoy excellent Kiwi cuisine

After an invigorating day on the Greenstone and Routeburn Tracks you will have worked up an appetite. Our lodges have full kitchens and our staff have been working to make sure your time inside on the Grand Traverse is as memorable as your time outside.

Enjoy a snack and cold drink when you arrive at the lodge. A three course dinner follows: hearty homemade soup; a traditional New Zealand main; fresh garden salad followed by dessert, tea and coffee. A selection of New Zealand wine, beer and soft drinks are available for purchase from our bars throughout your evening.

A hot cuppa will be ready and waiting for early risers and breakfast offers a selection of fruit and cereal or a full cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs. Your guides will lay everything out for you to make your own picnic lunch on the way out: a delicious sandwich and your choice of fruit and energy snacks to keep you going through the day. Lunch is on route, but a hot drinks will be waiting for you when you stop.

Accommodation options on the Grand Traverse include:

MULTISHARE: dormitory style rooms with shared bathroom facilities on the Greenstone Track.  On the Routeburn Track multishare rooms sleep up to 4 people.  Private rooms with ensuite bathrooms are available on the Routeburn Track only.


The Grand Traverse 6 day/ 5 night guided walk departs twice per week between the 1st of November and the 9th of April. There are no minimum numbers required for the trip to depart and we can cater for a maximum of 24 people per departure.

Your Grand Traverse Guied Walk includes transport to and from the track; track accommodation; breakfasts, lunches and dinners; snacks; backpacks and rain jackets. Accommodation is provided in our comfortable wilderness lodges and you will be led by our expert guides.


I chose the Grand Traverse because it covered the Greenstone and Routeburn Tracks. I certainly wasn't disappointed (not that I expected to be).

FLRosemary, USA

Trip Advisor


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