Routeburn Track New Zealand – Walk and Hut/Campsite Guide

The Routeburn Track New Zealand, is one of  the Great Walks of New Zealand and is also a world famous hike. It’s 32km circle tramping (hiking) track, traveling through extraordinary scenery of West side of South Island. Routeburn Track covers across Fiordland National Park and Mount Aspiring National Park, and several kilometres to the Milford Track, which shows the best Alpine mountains views of South Island in New Zealand.

Some people like to do this amazing hike as a combo with either the Milford Track or Kepler. This walk and hut/campsite guide is a 3 day version of the hike. Some people complete this amazing walk in 2 days, some in 4. We recommend at least 3 to allow for time to take photos and enjoy this truly spectacular part of New Zealand.

There are 4 huts located along the amazing Great Walk. These huts include the Routeburn Flats hut, Lake Mackenzie hut, the Routeburn Falls hut and the Lake Howden hut. Information about these huts is provided at the bottom of this page.

There are also 2 campsites located along the track. The Routeburn Flats campsite and the Lake Mackenzie campsite

Day 1 – Routeburn Track New Zealand Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Flats Hut & Campsite (7.5km)

The Routeburn Track starts from the Routeburn Shelter car park. On the way to Routeburn Flats hut the track goes through the forest, and reaches through to the widespread wetlands.

Walk alongside a river from Routeburn Track carpark
Walk alongside a river from Routeburn Track car park

Routeburn Flats Hut and Routeburn flats campsite are embraced by the mountains, and it faces the direction, where the Sunset goes.

Routeburn Flats Hut & Campsite

Day 2 - Routeburn Flats Hut & Campsite to Routeburn Falls Hut/Lake Mackenzie Hut & Campsite (13.6km)​

Leaving Routeburn Flats Hut, the track climbs steadily for about 2.3 km taking you to the Routeburn Falls Hut. At this point you can push on to the Lake Mackenzie hut or stay another night in the Routeburn Falls hut.

From here there is another 2.5 km of relentless climbing to get to Harris Saddle. From this point on the Routeburn Track you will find yourself up high on the ridges with the breath-taking views of mountains capped with snow.

Mountains capped with snow
Mountains capped with snow

Zig Zagging down to Lake Mackenzie Campsite and Lake Mackenzie Hut, however where is still half way to the bottom, it creates a peaceful chill night nearby the lake, with stunning view of Sunset and Milky Way stretching across the sky.

zig zagging down to lake mackenzie campsite
Bird spotted on the Routeburn Track
Looking Down on Lake Mackenzie Hut
Lake Mackenzie Hut & Campsite
Lake Mackenzie campsite

Day 3 - Lake Mackenzie Campsite/Hut to The Divide Shelter Routeburn Track New Zealand (3.4km)

Most people choose to skip the Lake Howden hut and walk out from the Lake Mackenzie hut and go direct to the car park. The Routeburn Track ascends a little bit following the Lake Mackenzie Hut, then it descends pass Earland Falls (178m high).

Descending past Earland Falls Routeburn Track NZ Day 3
Earland Falls

Continuing down to Lake Howden Hut for amazing views of Lake Howden. From here either stay another night at the Lake Howden hut or head of towards Key Summit.

Continuing down to Lake Howden Hut for amazing views of the Routeburn Track NZ
Lake Howden Hut view of Lake Howden

  This amazing part of the track is one of the top 10 day hikes in NZ. Key Summit is the highlight of this awesome Great Walk. The Routeburn Track NZ ends at the Divide road.

Key Summit the highlight of the Routeburn Track NZ

For more information on Routeburn Track New Zealand Great Walk visit the NZ Department of Conservation

Huts and Campsites on the Routeburn Track New Zealand

Depending on how many days you plan on taking to complete this amazing great walk, there are four places you can stay. There are two campsites on the Routeburn Track and four huts.

Most hikers stay only two nights on the track due to the closeness of the first two huts. The last hut is also fairly close to the end of the track.

All of these huts and campsites must be booked in advance via DOC.

Routeburn Flats Hut​

Only 6.5km in is the Routeburn Flats Hut which is a 20 bunk hut. This hut is often skipped by most hikers. This is due to the limited number of bunks and closeness of the Routeburn Flats Hut to the start of the hike and the next hut.

A short walk from the Routeburn Flats Hut you will find the Routeburn Flats campsite which has basic facilities only. These facilities include toilets, sinks and a water supply.

People staying at the campsite are not permitted to use the hut facilities. Because of this ensure you bring your own cooking devices if you are camping here.

Routeburn Flats Hut Facilities (During Great Walk Season)​

  • 20 Bunks with mattresses
  • Running water supply
  • Flushing toilets
  • Wash basins
  • Heating with fuel
  • Gas cookers with gas
  • Solar powered lighting in kitchen area

Routeburn Falls Hut Routeburn Track NZew Zealand

8.8 km in from the start the Routeburn Falls Hut is the most popular of the first two huts. This is mostly due to the short distance of the Routeburn Falls hut from the start of the track.

This hut has amazing views from the expansive outside deck.This deck makes a nice resting stop for those skipping this hut after staying in Routeburn Flats.

There are 48 bunks in the Routeburn Falls hut and the same facilities as the Routeburn Flats Hut. However there is no campsite available. 

Routeburn Falls Hut

Routeburn Falls Hut Facilities (During Great Walk Season)​

  • 48 Bunk beds with mattresses
  • Running water supply
  • Flushing toilets
  • Wash up basins
  • Heating with fuel
  • Gas cookers with gas
  • Solar lighting in kitchen area

Lake Mackenzie Hut​

20.1 km in from start of the track and 11.3 km from the Routeburn Falls hut is the Lake Mackenzie Hut. This is usually the other hut used along with the Routeburn Falls hut as it has 50 bunks available. It also means that each of the days will be fairly even in terms of walking distance. 

The Lake Mackenize hut has the same facilities as the Routeburn Falls hut but also has a campsite with 9 sites available. 

The Lake Mackenzie campsite is next to the lake set into the bush slightly. No camping is permitted next to the lake and the DOC ranger will check. Swimming in the lake is allowed however no chemicals are permitted. 

Lake Mackenzie Hut facilities are not allowed to be used so ensure you bring your own cooking device if camping here. Long drop toilets, running water, a sink and cooking shelter is available for use at this campsite.

From here it is another 8.6 km to the Lake Howden hut.

Lake Mackenzie Hut Facilities (During Great Walk Season)​

  • 50 Bunks with mattresses
  • Running water supply
  • Flushing toilets
  • Wash basins
  • Cooking facilities with fuel
  • Solar lighting in communal area

Lake Howden Hut​

Lake Howden Hut is located only 3.4 km from the end of the track and 8.6 km from Lake Mackenzie Hut.

The Lake Howden hut is usually skipped due to it’s limited number of bunks (only 28) and absence of a campsite. However the Lake Howden hut is probably the most amazing hut on the Routeburn Track with beautiful reflective views of Lake Howden. 

Lake Howden Hut has the same facilities as the other huts making it a good place to stay if you want to chill for a while nearing the end of one of New Zealand’s best hiking tracks.

Lake Howden Hut Facilities (During Great Walk Season)​

  • 28 Bunks with mattresses
  • Tap water supply
  • Toilets which flush
  • Washing basins
  • Heating with required fuel
  • Gas cooking stoves with gas
  • Solar powered kitchen lighting