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Green Lake Hut via tops, Fiordland National Park

Descending to Green Lake. Photo: David Barnes
Fiordland National Park
Total Ascent
Green Lake Hut
Borland Saddle, at Pt990 on Borland Road
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Green Lake Hut via tops (gpx, yo 161 KB)
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A sign at Borland Saddle describes the biggest known landslip in the world, when 27 cubic kilometres fell off the side of the Hunter Mountains some 12,000 years ago, forming the lakes you visit on this trip.

From the saddle, a good track leads to the bushline in 15 minutes.

The views here are more than enough to justify the effort for anyone passing by without the inclination to walk further.

Before long, Island Lake reveals itself, with the Merrie Range on the skyline beyond the Grebe Valley.

The route, which is only lightly marked and eventually peters out, meanders past a few tarns which would provide acceptable campsites in reasonable weather.

There’s a short steepish section and then you can either cross a ridge towards Green Lake or, if you fancy a climb, drop your packs and head across a saddle towards Mt Burns.

If climbing Mt Burns the last couple of hundred metres along the ridge is a bit of a scramble.

Returning to your packs, cross the ridge to your first look at the full extent of Green Lake, some 600m below.

From the first tarn, two possible routes can be taken. One involves a descent south to the saddle on the track over from Lake Monowai; the other a knee-jarring plunge to flats near the lake.

If the latter, the flats are deceptively slow travel, with deep watercourses hidden amongst the tussock, but eventually, the 12 bunk Green Lake Hut is reached. Return to Borland Saddle via Green Lake Track.