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Said to be among the world’s “Top 10 Classic Hikes”, the Routeburn Track traverses 32km of rugged mountain range in the Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, part of Te Wāhipounamu – World Heritage Area.
Typically tackled over 2 or 3 days of tramping (the Kiwi term for hiking), the track also offers a number of options for day walkers. The most popular route starts at the Routeburn Shelter, the eastern end of the track located just an hour and a half from Queenstown.
From here, walkers travel through native beech forest and along the “Route Burn” river to the Routeburn Falls hut, the second overnight hut on the track.
Comfortably reached in 3.5 hours, the Routeburn Falls is a perfect place to stop for lunch while enjoying spectacular views over the valley, before heading back down to the starting point.
The Routeburn offers a slice of true NZ wilderness; wander through dense beech forest and across grassy plains, past waterfalls and turquoise rivers to the top of the steep glacial valley.
Snow-capped peaks rise majestically all around. Look out for native plant and birdlife, from the cheeky bush robin to the endangered yellowhead/mohua and blue duck/whio.
Those with a keen interest in flora and fauna and looking for a less energetic day walk can explore the Routeburn Nature Walk, a 45-minute easy loop track through the forest which starts just a short walk from the Shelter.
Visitors to the Wakatipu region have been travelling the track since the 1880s, when access to the first overnight hut was on horseback.
Today, the Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand's Great Walks and over 13,000 walkers complete the full track each year.
Though day walking on the track is open to everyone, take the hassle out by joining a guided tour including transfers, lunch and a knowledgeable guide.
Wilderness Guided Walks offer full and half day walks on the Routeburn, more information on which can be found here: Guided walks
For more information on walking the full track independently, speak to Info & Track who can organise your transfers and hiking equipment.
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