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The smell of the New Zealand bush is one of those ‘once encountered, never forgotten’ things. Starting the Routeburn Track brings the same sentiments to mind.
This Great Walk links Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks in the Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. An easily accessible, well graded track welcomes you to the Routeburn - with a little more effort required for the climb to the hut later in the day. A busy river, sentinel trees and mossy green of the forest keeps your thoughts focussed on having fun.
Once above the bushline and into the tussock, spectacular alpine views down the Routeburn and Hollyford valleys stretch out ahead - alpine flowers pepper the side of the track in spring and summer, and kea (alpine parrot) often come to visit at Harris Saddle at lunchtime.
The 32km Routeburn Track takes 2-4 days to hike. The best time to go is from late October to late April, the Great Walks season. Bookings are required for all huts and campsites during this time.
The track, which can be walked in either direction, is managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Transport is available from both Queenstown and Te Anau, as well as accommodation options for before and after the hike.
Start your journey through New Zealand's stunning landscapes at a Department of Conservation (DOC) Visitor Centre. Information about conservation areas, as well as DOC's 14,000 km of tracks, 10 Great Walks, and network of 950 huts and 324 campsites.