Accommodation | Departure Dates | Getting There | Fitness Level | Prices

Routeburn Track Guided Walk Itinerary

If you live in New Zealand or your primary reason for travelling to Fiordland is to do the Routeburn Track then we recommend you contact the operators directly with information and booking enquiries. FreePhone in NZ is 0800 659 255

If you are thinking of combining this with one of our other HikeSouth walks then we would be happy to help with your enquiries.

As part of your itinerary in the “walking capital of the world” make sure you try the Routeburn Track. Here is how it works ….

Pre departure briefing in Queenstown the afternoon before departure at 2.00pm

DAY 1: Queenstown, The Divide, Lake MacKenzie

Walk 5-6 hours / 14km ( 8.7 m )

A coach takes you from Queenstown to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road. Climb a well-graded track through Silver Beech forest to the Key Summit turnoff. From here we leave the forest for the alpine environment of Key Summit, with breathtaking Routeburn views with a panorama of the Hollyford, Greenstone and Eglington Valleys.

You then descend to Lake Howden hut before gradually climbing through lush Silver Beech forest to the base of Earland Falls. Continue traversing around the mountainside with the glimpses of the Hollyford Valley just a teaser for what is to come tomorrow. Pass through the natural clearing of the Orchard before descending into the Mackenzie basin. Lake MacKenzie is 5 minutes further on from the lodge, a good place take it all in on your first night away from it all.

DAY 2: Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls

Walk 5-7 hours / 15km ( 9.4 m )

Today is divided into three distinct sections: the climb out of the Mackenzie Basin to Ocean Peak Corner, the traverse across the Hollyford Face to the Harris Saddle and the descent to Routeburn Falls.

From the lodge you skirt Lake Mackenzie and follow the track into the forest. As the track starts to climb you leave the trees and enter the alpine world of daisies, buttercups, gentians and edelweiss.

The traverse along the Hollyford Face is for many people the most spectacular scenery of the whole track. With the Darran Mountains in front of you and the Hollyford Valley far below, you are in big country. After lunch at the Harris Saddle the views get even better if you climb Conical Hill with a 360 degree panorama.

Walking around Lake Harris and just before your arrival at the lodge you are greeted by the Routeburn Falls and stunning views of the lower valley.

DAY 3: Routeburn Falls, Routeburn Road

Walk 3-4 hours / 10km ( 6.1 m )

Tramper approaches Routeburn Cairn

Routeburn Cairn

Your last day is the least strenuous, a nice way to wind down and take time to enjoy the environment.

The descent from Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Flats takes you through a rich mixed Beech forest as you slowly lose altitude and reach the valley floor.

Below the flats the Routeburn River enters its gorge, surging among boulders in frothing white torrents at one turn and resting in the clear jade pools at the next before finally disappearing underground at the Sump.

From here it’s a gentle downhill stroll to the end of the track and your coach back to Queenstown.


Accommodation in Queenstown is not included in this package and we are happy to make bookings on your behalf.
Lake MacKenzie and Routeburn Falls Huts are modern back country lodges with drying rooms, flush toilets and hot showers complete with soap, shampoo and conditioner. The lodge kitchen treats you with a three course dinner and cooked breakfast, we are fully self sufficient and environmentally friendly with our energy needs being supplied by gas. Accommodation is in bedrooms with bunk beds sleeping 4 to 6 people per room. All linen is provided.

Departure Dates

From 1 November to 20 April there are regular guaranteed departures on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Getting There

Queenstown has regular flights from Christchurch and Auckland. Heck they even have a direct flight from Rotorua! The Ultimate Hikes office is on the second floor of the Station Building on the corner of Shotover and Camp St.

Fitness Level

A moderate level of fitness is required. To enjoy your walk you need to be able to walk for 4– 8 hours over 10– 15 km ( 7 – 11 miles ) each day. The track is a mixture of natural bush and mountain tracks. You do need carry your own pack from lodge to lodge which is likely to be 5 to 7 kg.


Your Guided Walk package includes 2 nights accommodation, all meals, track transport, concession and guiding fees, snacks, backpacks and rain jackets.

Routeburn Track Guided Walk
Low season
1 November 2009 – 30 November 2009
and 1 April 2010 – 18 April 2010
$ 1 100
$ 900
High Season
1 December 2009 – 31 March 2010
$ 1 240
$ 1 040

Routeburn Track Guided Walks is operated by Ultimate Hikes Ltd. Please be aware of their following cancellation policy.
Bookings cancelled outside 90 days prior to departure – $100 per person.
Bookings cancelled outside 89-60 days prior to departure – $200 per person.
Bookings cancelled outside 59-21 days prior to departure – 50% of full fare.
Bookings cancelled outside within 21 days prior to departure – 100% of full fare.

Cancellation fees are non negotiable – we strongly recommend travel insurance.