Explore the most popular bird watching trails near Glenorchy with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike!
I started from Greenstone car park and hiked the Caples track on day 1 and camped at the free campsite Greenstone saddle in order to complete the Routeburn the next day. With my backpack (tent, sleeping bag, food,...) without running I was able to complete the hike in 10 hours (with a good pace but took time for lunch and jumping in the river).

on Routeburn Track

hiking
19 days ago

Fantastic tramp. Personally I found the steep bit's challenging, both up and down, but one foot after the other and you get there.

We took 3 days, 2 nights - staying at The Falls Hut, and MacKenzie Hut. The lake here is very cold but after a long days walk is inviting: pure and clean. A great way to wash away the tiredness, sweat and dust.

Beautiful track. Easy walk along the valley that follows the Greenstone River.

Une marche difficile, avec de très beaux points de vue mais une descente, le long d’un grillage, très pentue et longue. Un chemin en « zig zag » serait bienvenu...

Un sentier très accessible et joli que nous avons fait en 2h aller, sans marcher trop vite. A walk day fun!

Nous avons fait juste sur une journée, 6kms jusqu’au pont donc très facile au niveau du sentier, un peu boueux mais magnifique !

Great way to day hike the Routeburn trail.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a very detailed trip report of my 1-day Routeburn hike. I'm including all details as personally I found it very challenging to find this info online and I was nervous before attempting to complete this 3-day hike in a single day.

First things first: I'm a 47 year old man, have had 2 back surgeries so no running for me. I'm a fast walker and am in decent shape but by no means a fitness freak. I completed the entire hike including Conical Hill in 8:45 hours. Without Conical Hill it would have been 7:45 hours, and this includes plenty of stops for rest, pics and eating. The point? This is not a multiday hike, as long as you are reasonably fit. Having said that, I did have spectacular weather (hiked it in late December), and I'm sure that had I had to brave the elements I'd be singing a different tune....

The hike is amazing and beautiful, highly recommended!

The hike (all times below include the stops mentioned above and can be easily shortened) :
- Routeburn Shelter - Flats Hut: 1.15 hours. The hike starts off very mellow in a beautiful and shaded forest. There are plenty of flat areas to get you up to speed and overall this segment is extremely easy. It's more of a stroll than anything else.
- Flats Hut - Falls Hut: 45 minutes. Slightly steeper but still very manageable. This section starts to get your legs working but is by no means strenuous. It's gorgeous and the trail is not technical at all.
- Falls Hut - Harris: 1.10 hours. This section is the most physically demanding. It gets steeper and the trail becomes more technical. Having said that, it's still very manageable. Personally I take a 1 minute break every couple of miles to rest my pathetically weak calves and then continue on. All good.
- Conical Hill side-trip: 1 hour. This section is technical, steep and involves a lot of loose rock and some snow. It's by far and away the toughest part of the hike, if you decide to do it. Since this is a side-trip you don't have to do it, but the views from the top are probably worth it. You can leave your backpack at Harris and pick it up when you're done.
- Harris - MacKenzie: 1.5 hours. There is nothing hard physically in this section, but if you're not prepared it can be mentally challenging. Why? Because when you look at the trail map you feel that from Harris "it's all downhill", but that's simply not the case. There is a pretty long uphill segment that, as noted, isn't tough at all but can be demoralizing if you aren't expecting it. But then you find yourself above the amazing Lake MacKenzie and you forget about everything.
- MacKenzie - Howden: 2.5 hours. OK... this segment took way longer than expected. The main reason was that it was very demoralizing as the trail just kept going uphill and I just wasn't read for it. Yes I saw some uphill on the trail map, but in reality it seemed to be much more significant than on the map. This segment was mentally tough and it showed in my times. Having said that, I also stopped for a 30 minute lunch at Mackenzie which made this segment longer. Again - there is nothing that's too physically demanding here, as long as you're mentally prepared for the uphill.
- Howden - Divide: 30 minutes. Having suffered through the hike to Howden, I was expecting the last uphill to be brutal as it appeared to be pretty steep on the map. However, that wasn't the case at all. The uphill is maybe 1km long if that and was over in a breeze. From that point on it was just a matter of cruing down to the parking lot.

All in all an amazing trail. If you're considering doing it in 1 day, go for it. Of course you should come prepared for weather but in terms of physical effort there's no reason not to do it. An 8 hour trek when there are about 15 hours of daylight is a no brainer.

A note about water: There is water EVERYWHERE. It's fresh, clean and potable. There is really no reason to bring water as you can fill up wherever and whenever you feel like it.

Enjoy!

trail running
2 months ago

left from Glenorchy ... 40km total to Mackenzie hut and back to parking area ; did the conical peak and rested there for a while ! great views all the way! very nice

backpacking
2 months ago

Me and my wife did this track last weekend. We did the loop clockwise wich if you prifer going up a steep incline rather than hiking down i would recommend. The husts are first come first sirve and both huts have a water tank. and the veus from the top are rad. I would check the werher befor going as the river crossing on the second day can be strong. All in all realy grate hike!! I would make shor you do this track.

backpacking
bugs
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Absolutely stunning route! Started at Muddy Creek and ended in... Paradise! We had beautiful weather the first 4 days and we able to make it to each hut easily within the recommended time. All bridges were installed as well. Huts were wonderful and Dart Hut was most impressive (and Heather, the Ranger, was awesome!). We allotted 5 days total so we could have a day trip of Cascade Saddle/ Dart Glacier. This was the most challenging part of the trip, with a bunch of scree and unmarked areas (but several kea!!!!). On day 4 when we arrived at Daley's Flat hut, a huge front was blowing in. We were warned by the Ranger that either we needed to leave super early the next morning or plan waiting the storm out another day due to heavy rains and creek crossings being impassable due to flooding. Sidenote- If someone recommends you need to stay back if an area is flooded- LISTEN TO THEM- some of the crossings on this route are no joke if water is involved. We opted to kickoff that next morning at about 0400 via headlamp. By 0500 it was starting to sprinkle and by ~0700 it was a full on downpour (thanks, Arc'teryx for making some quality gear that kept up dry). Near Dredge Flat things can get slippery, and you can be met with a 200m drop off- so be careful if it's wet out. Anyways, we arrived at our pick up point around 0930- 5 hours early. So we walked. And walked. And walked some more. Finally were able to be picked up/ hitched with some locals to Glenorchy, then back to Queenstown. All in all, amazing, beautiful, and FUN hike! DO IT! Oh, and bring gaiters and sandfly repellent.

on Hollyford Track

2 months ago

Fabulous experience.

backpacking
2 months ago

Cannot put into words how amazing this hike was. Completed last week of November. Really lucky and had almost no rain and 3 mostly sunny days. Although more incline we started at Routeburn shelter side. Noticed tours and guided hikes go the opposite direction so glad we started where we did. Took 11:30 shuttle from Queenstown to Shelter and were to “The flats” campsite within a couple of hours. Set up camp at the flats and did a late afternoon and evening side hike across the river which was amazing. Referred to as North Branch Track. Highly recommend not missing the “flats area”.

2nd night was spent at Mackenzie Hut area but we camped. Did evening little hike to “cracked rock” which is just a bit further up from the camping area.

3rd day we took the side route up to “key summit” and still had time to make 3:30 shuttle at the divide (note- we move pretty quickly). The summit was worth it but crowded. This area is close to “the divide” where as mentioned before the tourists and single day hikers get dropped.

You can drink the water straight from the river or the lakes. Both camp sites had toilets and eating area with sinks with running water. You have to hike your trash out.

A group of us did the track in a day, finished at the divide car park. Weather was good to us and we had a fantastic day, great track

Very short hike, uphill to the view of the falls. Worth the uphill trek. Be careful of slippery rocks on the path as water may sometimes flow down the sides of the trail.

backpacking
4 months ago

One of my favorite hikes. I did this back in April and it was great! The huts and path are all well maintained and it was a nice little challenge. Not too difficult but challenging at times due to ice and snow

hiking
4 months ago

My first multi-day hike! I wasnt sure which of the great walks to do, I only had time for one and my friend who hiked New Zealand for 3 months highly recommended Routeburn. It was absolutely stunning and a definite highlight of my time in New Zealand. I did it right at the end of the season and really enjoyed it. I was lucky to find spots available in the huts, I booked it a month ahead of time and if I wasn't going alone there wouldn't have been enough free beds.

Absolutely stunning vistas, we were incredibly lucky with the weather - 3 bluebird days to enjoy incredible scenery. A good challenging hike

hiking
8 months ago

Very remote and diverse!

Ran this track with dad in 1 day it was awesome :) Gotta love enjoying gods creation and the freshest air every

hiking
9 months ago

Magnificent. Beautiful rain forest, bridge crossings, waterfalls. Unfortunately snow closed the pass the night before so we couldn't complete the full track but we hope to come back and finish it off next year.

backpacking
10 months ago

Great views. Fair bit of exposure after Harris Saddle. Faced unusually heavy rain fall, hail and snow while camping in mid April 2018. Otherwise enjoyable.

hiking
10 months ago

My favorite hiking memory. So gorgeous!

hiking
10 months ago

Absolutely love the Routeburn... I’ve done it twice with my two daughters (11 & 13) so many highlights.

10 months ago

Most amazing hike I've ever done. The views are spectacular but be prepared for LOTS of rain and very technical/rough terrain. This is definitely not a hike for beginners and day 2 is rough. That being said, it's the most amazing trek I've ever done in my life and I can't wait to do another Great Walk in New Zealand.

11 months ago

I was fortunate to hike this trail on a semester abroad to NZ. Amazing trail, some of the best views I’ve ever had.

hiking
11 months ago

A fantastic, but challenging one day 25km hike from Routeburn to Harris Saddle and back. Conical Hill is a must, the views were incredible. Even got to see Milford Sound.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The falls are very nice, but the view is only partial and from a distance

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Did the hike in and back as a loop. Lots of seals!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

should be on every hikers must do list.

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