Routeburn Track NZ Great Walk

The Routeburn Track NZ, is one of Nine Great Walks in New Zealand, also 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 kilometers to 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.

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

Starts from Routeburn Shelter car park, the track goes through the forest, and reaches 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 campsite is embraced by the mountains, and it faces the direction, where the Sunset goes.

Campground at Routeburn Flats

Campground at Routeburn Flats

Day 2 – Routeburn Flats Hut/Campsite to Lake Mackenzie Campsite & Hut (13.6km)

Leaving Routeburn Flats Hut, the track reaches steadily up to the top where there are rocky mountain ridges. After walking pass Harris Saddle, the Routeburn Track stays on the high ridges, with the breath-taking views of the 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.

Lake Mackenzie campsite

Lake Mackenzie Campsite

Day 3 – Lake Mackenzie Campsite/Hut to The Divide Shelter Routeburn Track NZ (3.4km)

The track goes up a bit after Lake Mackenzie Campsite, then it descends pass Earland Falls (178m high)

Descending past Earland Falls Routeburn Track Day 3

Earland Falls

The beautiful Lake Howden on Day 3 Routeburn Track

Lake Howden

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

Key Summit the Routeburn Track Highlight

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

Huts and Campsites on the Routeburn Track NZ

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 to the start of the hike and the next hut.

A short walk from this 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.

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

8.8 km in from the start the Routeburn Falls Hut is the most popular of the first two huts. 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 this hut and the same facilities as the Routeburn Flats Hut. However there is no campsite available.

Lake Mackenzie Hut

20.1 km in from start of the track 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. This 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. Hut facilities are also 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.

Lake Howden Hut

Lake Howden Hut is located only 3.4 km from the end of the track. This hut is usually skipped due to it’s limited number of bunks (only 28) and absence of a campsite. However this is probably the most amazing hut on the Routeburn Track with beautiful reflective views of Lake Howden. This 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.