New Zealand’s Routeburn Track

Though the Milford Track gets more recognition, nearby Routeburn Track might be even better.

Kyle Ellison – trip report:

… This past year Lonely Planet listed the Routeburn Track as one of it’s top ten treks in the world, and the heavily trodden track has seen it’s annual numbers climb to over 13,000 walkers per year.

… the Department of Conservation limits the number of people who can through-hike the 20-mile route by only providing 50 beds in each of the 4 backcountry huts scattered along the trail. During the summer months, the no-frills huts (mattresses and gas stoves are provided) run a pricey $40 US per person/night and reservations are absolutely crucial. …


Permits are needed. Click over to Routeburn Track — official website — for information on how to tramp independently or guided.

There are plenty of good trekking guidebooks. Amy McGinnis recommends one I’ve not used — NZ Frenzy: New Zealand South Island by Scott Cook.

2 Replies to “New Zealand’s Routeburn Track”

  1. For those who prefer fewer people and don’t mind it when it’s a bit chilly…I hiked the Routeburn in May of 2008–off season. I didn’t need to reserve ahead, I (lucked out) and had clear views at Harris Saddle, and I probably only saw 10-or-so people per day. I did it as a two day hike, and I’d estimate only about 6-8 other people in the hut at night. A glorious Alpine experience.

  2. The hiking in New Zealand is fantastic. I did the Rees-Dart track a few years back. It’s one of the less well known tracks meaning that we didn’t have to book in advance which is great if your plans are a bit fluid. I thought the scenery was great and it didn’t feel like a ‘lesser’ route to me. The DOC office in Queenstown were really helpful in providing advice and selling us hut tickets. Only thing I didn’t like was the huge amount of stream crossings – 10 mins into a 4 day hike and my boots were already soaking wet and stayed that way for most of the time!

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