Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Mount Aspiring National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
19 hours ago

Definitely gets steep on both the left and right way up.

hiking
bugs
muddy
scramble
4 days ago

Beautiful trail in the valley. I did it from muddy Creek to Paradise. Muddy is the term for the trek ! Especially the first day, my feet were completely wet and if you're not careful, you can get mud to the knee.
The views are stunning all along, and the huts are very confortable !
Take the time to do the cascade saddle as a side trip, it's worth it ! For the fastest, you can combine the second or the third day with the cascade saddle (it's a very long day but doable)

trail running
rocky
scramble
4 days ago

Beautiful trail, wonderful view on top. Perfect for trail running.
I did a side trip from the Dart hut. The trail is following the river in the valley for 6/7km before going up to the saddle. Some landslides happened so there are a few parts that are a bit tricky. especially after a day of rain, it must be really slippery!

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 days ago

Great climb up...take the right way all the way up to the summit and then the other side down! More safe this way with kids...steep cliffs, rocky and muddy! Way down much easier on the other side! View from the top is amazing! Worth the climb!

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

hiking
muddy
private property
rocky
scramble
7 days ago

Stunning track with vistas of huge mountains and glaciers all the way to Liverpool Hut. Really easy walking along valley floor until the really steep ascent to the Hut, which has some hands on sections.

Absolutely the best hike I've ever done. So lucky to have clear skies on the mountain on day two, with epic views of snow-covered mountains surrounding me.

I did the Shelter - Divide route, but there was a slip between Howden Hut and the Divide so I took the Pass Creek alternate, and it actually worked out wonderfully. Pass Creek is rocky, muddy and a bit "back country" which was a nice change from the well maintained paths of the main route.


Try to start your assent to Conical Hill before dawn so you can watch the sun rise. The variety of terrain, vegetation and surrounds makes this hike absolutely brilliant. This hike was HEAVEN and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
14 days ago

Absolutely stunning trail with spectacular scenery at the summit. Trail is pretty steep all the way to the top. There’s a good path to the Hut and about 500m after the Hut. Then it’s a relatively easy scramble/route finding to the top.

hiking
19 days ago

Completed in early February. One of the greatest hikes I’ve ever done. Lots of other hikers but for good reason. Stayed the first night up the north fork of the routeburn river. Had the entire Valley to myself. Second night I stayed in the falls hut. Got up at 4:30 am to hit Harris Saddle And conical by myself and the experience was rewarding. Also saw a Rock Wren on my way down from Harris Saddle. Didn’t see anybody else on the trail really until I started descending towards Mackenzie lake. Camped by the lake and then finished off at the divide. Will definitely do this hike again.

hiking
20 days ago

Nice hike just 15 minutes down the road from Wanaka. Great views almost the whole time, except for maybe a short bit when you are in the forest climbing up from the small lake. Right after you reach there lake, there is a long stretch of steps. If you go all the way to the top of Rocky Hill, you will get especially panoramic views. Today, there were just a few slightly wet/muddy slippery spots which required special care. Quite a few people on the trail by noon, including a veritable herd of folks who were part of a guided group. This is a good hike to get some of the sense of accomplishment you would get with Roy's or Isthmus peaks, in less than half the distance and elevation gain.

very hard, but definitely worth it. the wiew is absolutely the most beautiful I've ever seen. But you have to be pretty fit to do that one !

hiking
1 month ago

I did this trail today with my parents (both in their late 50s). We took the “shorter” trail opting for the Lake Wanaka lookout and turning back as opposed to the full loop. It was perfect and I would have liked to do this full thing. He trail was very well kept and easy to follow. The views along the way to Diamond Lake (which is a very quick walk) and beyond we’re breathtaking. This was the hike suggested by every local we encountered and it’s the one I would suggest to friends in the future. Even though we didn’t think it was possible at the time we all ended up a little sunburnt so plan for that!

hiking
1 month ago

What a cool little hike... not the hardest but the views at the top are amazing. Wasn’t busy at all and we had the top to ourselves at around 10am.. we were up and down in around 2h.Definitely need to take a couple areas slow but as far as the reward it was perfect!

Very steep all the way up but worth the view.

hiking
1 month ago

Great walk- both the journey and destination was great. The stairs at the beginning were the hardest part, but after that it was fine with spectacular views

backpacking
muddy
rocky
washed out
1 month ago

Fantastic views at the saddle on a clear day. Very tough when raining hard. My wife and I completed this in 2 days at a moderate pace with 65l packs carrying 25 lbs and 35 lbs. We went from routeburn shelter to mackenzie, the to divide on day 2. Trackhopper (a company that moves your car for you and even fills up your gas, needed in such a remote part of the island) was amazing and on time and well-worth the service. We were able to seamlessly continue our vacation to Milford sound directly after.

on Routeburn Track

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

Easy track, incredible blue water at the pools. Good for swimming.

A good hike. You have to go through the river at the beginning and then it just go straight up by the tree. When you pass that you still have 30 minutes to go to the hut.
The view from up there is great. In the middle with all the mountains.

hiking
1 month ago

Very first bit of the trail to the lake is the steepest but still doable with a pushchair (once you’ve lifted it over the stile at the bottom). Gentle incline from the first bend on, then flat around the lake circuit. We left the pushchair and went up to the lookout with baby in a sling: stunning view and worth the 250steps! That part is mostly shaded though

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
2 months 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.

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Fantastic walk, steep and challenging at times, took us just under 3 hours to get up and back down. Fantastic views. Highly recommend.

on Diamond Lake Track

hiking
over grown
rocky
3 months ago

A very accessible and pretty trail that we did in 2 hours, without walking too fast. A walk day fun!

We did just one day, 6kms to the bridge so very easy on the trail, a little muddy but beautiful!

walking
3 months ago

Easy and pretty lake tour. You can go to Wanaka point of view or make a loop up but it goes up and especially there are stairs so if knees painful it is to avoid I think.

Great way to day hike the Routeburn trail.

Wonderful hike. A few steep sections but not bad. We opted to do this hike over the Roys Peak hike. Very few people on this hike which made it very enjoyable. A very panoramic view at the top.

hiking
3 months 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!

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