Routeburn Track Guide

The Routeburn track is justifiably rated as one of New Zealand's best Great Walks. This article provides a great guide on track details and facts.


This is an Alpine walk that is 3 days/2 nights staying in Department of Conservation Huts in the Milford Sound area. It is 32km in total split over the 3 days, with the majority of the walking on the 2nd day.

If completing this trek as part of a Flying Kiwi tour it can be integrated into any of the main loops covering the south island.


The track traverses 32 kilometres of Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, part of Te Wāhipounamu - South West New Zealand World Heritage Area . Swing bridges, grassy flats, steep climbs are all part of the adventure. For the botanist sub-alpine herbs and cushion plants are a feature of the vegetation. These areas are very fragile so please keep to the track. FromConical Hill there is a superb view of the Hollyford Valley through to Lake McKerrow, Martins Bay and the Tasman Sea. This needs to be pre booked and if travelling independantly can be done through Department of Conservation.

Recommended itinerary

This is for people with a reasonable level of fitness and used to walking, (if you are unfit the walk may not be suitable);
Day One; Leave the Divide on the day we visit Milford Sound, by 5pm, 1 - 1 1/2 hrs walk, night at Howden Hut / Mackenzie Hut
Day Two; Crossing Harris Saddle (1277m), 8 -10 hrs walk, night at Routeburn Falls or Flats Hut.
Day Three; Walk out to meet the shuttle by 10.00 am, 2-2.5 hrs walk.

Can I do It?

Physical fitness and good equipment will make the difference to your enjoyment of the trip, regardless of the weather. On this track you will be an independent walker and therefore can expect the following:
- To carry a pack weighing up to 15kg for up to 20km per day. routeburn_walk_trip.jpg
- Parts of the track have rough and uneven walking surface
- At least one days rain while on the track
- To walk through water up to half a metre deep during or after heavy rain
- To cross unbridged streams
- To get wet, muddy boots - it's part of the Routeburn experience

What to take

The Routeburn Track traverses a high alpine area. The following gear is essential, no matter how warm it is on the day of departure.


You will need at least one set of clothes to walk in and another set dry set to change into at night. It is not possible to dry clothes in the huts. It is essential that this clothing is carried as your safety and the safety of others depends on it. Please note: cotton clothing such as jeans, T-shirts and sweatshirts are not suitable. Polypropylene or merino, which is quick drying is recommended.
Boots need to be comfortable and well broken in
Socks wool/polypropylene - 2 pairs
Shirt wool/polypropylene
Longjohns/trousers wool/polypropylene
Jersey/jacket wool/polypropylene
Undershirts/t/shirt wool/polypropylene
Mittens/Gloves wool/polypropylene
Raincoat waterproof, windproof with hood
Overtrousers wind and waterproof
Woollen hat/balaclava, sunhat and sunglasses. Extra socks, underwear, short or lightweight jersey.

Personal Equipment

Pack/Rucksack with large waterproof/plastic liner
Sleeping Bag good quality 3+ season
Matches/lighter in waterproof container
Torch With spare batteries
Eating Utensils knife, fork, spoon, plate, cup
Cooking Utensils pot/pan/billy and cleaning utensils
Toilet gear toothbrush, soap, toilet paper, small towel
First aid kit insect repellent, sunscreen, blister kits, pain relief, assorted bandages
Survival kit survival blanket, whistle, paper, pencil, high energy snack food
Drink bottle 1-2 litres water capacity
Optional extras camera, lightweight shoes, ear plugs for communal bunkrooms (you will be sharing with up to 40 other walkers)


If travelling on a Flying Kiwi tour then food will be supplied. If travelling independantly you will need to provide 3 days of food

Further information

For more information visit the routeburn track page on

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