Backpacking the Routeburn Track, New Zealand
After a rough breakup a few years ago, I looked at some photos of New Zealand somewhere and spontaneously booked a trip. My first solo trip! I originally wanted to do the Milford Track, but since that books up months in advance, the Routeburn Track was next on my list.
The Routeburn Track did not disappoint.
Itinerary for the Routeburn Track
On our first day of this Great Walk, the bus picked us up in Queenstown and dropped us off at the Routeburn Shelter. This is the most popular destination for the Routeburn Track.
We backpacked to the Routeburn Falls Hut, with a quick detour to explore some side trails near the Routeburn Flats Hut. It was an absolutely stunning first day on this Great Walk.
We woke up bright and early on day two at the Routeburn Falls Hut to catch the sunrise. Our early start meant we were one of the first people out of the hut.
The scenery was so spectacular, we couldn’t stop stopping at every spot. We were the last ones in to the Lake Mackenzie Hut that day.
On day three, New Zealand’s rain and fog found us. We spent most of the day hiking in a downpour, the mountains obscured by clouds.
How to Book the Routeburn Track
Visitors on the Routeburn Track must stay in designated huts and campsites for the whole trip. The trail passes through delicate alpine areas. Staying on trail and staying in legal spots ensures the landscape is preserved for many years to come.
For the 2018/2019 season, the Department of Conservation is implementing a system where international visitors pay twice as much as New Zealand residents. For international visitors, the cost per hut booking is $140 NZD per night.
Hut vs. Tent Camping on the Routeburn Track
How to get to the Routeburn Track
You don’t need a car to get to the Routeburn Track. TrackNet operates buses to and from Queenstown to the Routeburn Shelter and Divide Shelter. If you’re continuing onto or from Milford Sound, that is an available option as well.