One of the things that New Zealand is famous for is its Great Walks. There are nine of them that take you through different parts of New Zealand, showcasing the country’s breathtaking wilderness. Because the Department of Conservation maintains these walking trails, Great Walks are easily accessible and clean. There are also designated huts along the way which you will have to reserve prior to the trip, as camping is otherwise disallowed. This is to help preserve the tracks and minimise human impact on the natural surroundings. During the great walks season, huts get booked up pretty fast, so it’s advisable to book them months in advance. If you’re a creature of comfort, you can also opt for private guided walks which offer premium lodges/accommodation at a cost.
We were spoilt for choice (we wanted to do every single walk!), but we eventually settled for the Routeburn Track. We chose this track because we really love mountainous scenery and alpine environments, so we thought the Routeburn Track would be the perfect choice.
(Courtesy of NZTracker)
The Routeburn Track is a 3 day, 2 night track, which begins from either the Routeburn Shelter or The Divide. We booked a bus via Tracknet, and began our track from the Routeburn Shelter. The walk from Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Falls Hut, where we settled for the first night, took us approximately 6 hours. One of the things we quickly realised was that we had to add up to 2 hours for every recommended duration (maybe ‘cos we have shorter legs than most Kiwis? haha)
Here are some mandatory pictures we took at the start of our trek, before our fresh faces gave way to sunburnt, peeling skin. Thank God for the lovely weather!
Anyways, after hiking for about 3 hours along very well-paved tracks, we arrived at the Routeburn Flats campsite. The view was beautiful, so we took a 30 minute rest while taking in the scenery and munching on some energy bars.
You know, this was really a luxury for us, because we don’t get this kind of getaways in Singapore. It was as though we had entered paradise, and we felt like we could just lie here for days on end. We were absolutely thrilled with the idea of being in such a pristine setting, and filling our bottles with fresh water from mountain streams was such a novelty for us.
We continued our journey along the track, which started getting steeper and rockier. After walking for another 3 hours, we finally arrived at the Routeburn Falls Hut.
The Routeburn Falls Hut is located at an elevation of about 1000m, so it offered us stunning views of surrounding valleys. The hut was extremely clean and well-maintained. We sat outside the bunks to enjoy the scenery, do some sketching and reading, before we retired for the night.
The next day, we continued our uphill track, and we eventually reached the peak of the Routeburn Track – Harris Saddle – at an elevation of about 1,500m. It took us about 2 hours to reach Harris Saddle from the Routeburn Falls Hut.
The climb was tiring and our loads seemed to get heavier and heavier as we trudged on. Our feet were sore, but the view was well worth it. 🙂
We continued walking for another 5 hours, before we arrived at Lake Mackenzie Hut, our lodging for the 2nd night. This part of the hike was the most torturous – the landscape turned into one filled with huge, sandy boulders; the climb was steep; and the sun was scorching. There was nothing to shade us from the heat.
Perhaps our only saving grace was the instant noodles we had for lunch, which managed to put a smile on our tired faces. 🙂
Can you feel the heat already? 😦
Finally, after what seemed like forever, we arrived at Lake Mackenzie. Lake Mackenzie is BEAUTIFUL, especially when the fog descends in the evening. It looks like you walked right into a painting. The only downside is that there are LOTS of mosquitoes, so do come prepared.
We spent the rest of the evening at Lake Mackenzie Hut, our lodging for the second day.
On our third and final day of the track, we set off bright and early. We were well-rested and ready to conquer the rest of the Routeburn Track. Starting from Lake Mackenzie Hut, we took about 8 hours to reach The Divide. This part of the track offered some of the most breathtaking sceneries we had ever seen. The most notable was Earland Falls, an impressive waterfall located in Fiordland.
The picture simply does not do this majestic beauty justice. Videos of the falls up on our YouTube channel here! 🙂
Besides the falls, we were really excited to see little alpine flowers dotting the sides of the track. They were so dainty and beautiful!
As we reached the end of our track, we were so thankful to have had the opportunity to experience what the Routeburn Track had to offer. In just three days, we had experienced so much. It was truly unforgettable.
If you are intending to visit New Zealand, we strongly recommend doing at least one great walk. It will leave you with unforgettable memories to last a lifetime, for sure. 🙂
*This is a non-sponsored post.