The Routeburn is magical and has something for everyone over three easy days.
Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Falls Hut
There’s a gradual climb through lush beech forest to start, following the Route Burn River to Routeburn Flats which is flanked on both sides by the Humboldt Mountains. Keep an eye out for the native birdlife: whio paddle the river and yellowhead, titipounamu, robin and kākā can be seen in the canopy. Once past the flats, the track climbs steadily through thriving beech to Routeburn Falls Hut, situated beneath the stunning falls and with million-dollar views over the valley.
Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie Hut
The track continues alongside the Route Burn Left Branch through a spectacular hanging valley. A steep ascent takes walkers high above Lake Harris, which is sidled past on the way to Harris Saddle and shelter with views across the Hollyford River to the Darran Mountains. The track crosses from Otago to Southland here, and the descent begins – first above the treeline and then into rich beech forest before dropping finally to Lake Mackenzie Hut.
Lake Mackenzie Hut to The Divide
It’s all downhill now as the track leads from the hut, across a small flat to an open grassy area known as ‘The Orchard’ and then on to Earland Falls – an impressive 174m waterfall. The final stretch goes past Lake Howden to The Divide. If you have the energy, it’s well worth taking a 1.5hr detour to Key Summit.
- Total Ascent
- Three days.To Routeburn Falls Hut, 3-4hr; To Lake Mackenzie Hut, 4.5hr; To The Divide, 4-5hr
- Routeburn Flats Hut (20 bunks) Routeburn Falls Hut (48 bunks), Lake Mackenzie Hut (50 bunks). Camping at Routeburn Flats and Lake Mackenzie
- The track can be started from the Glenorchy end at the Routeburn Shelter or from The Divide on the Milford Road.