Voted one of the World’s “Top Ten Classic Hikes” by Lonely Planet, the Routeburn Track is a hiking experience not to be missed. At 32-kilometres in length, this Great Walk is traditionally walked over three days although many trampers will choose to do it in two.
From native beech forest to high mountain passes and shining alpine views, The Routeburn Track is a giant among New Zealand’s Great Walks. The Routeburn Track can be walked in either direction but most people will start at the Routeburn Shelter, near Glenorchy in the East, and finish at the Divide Shelter, just outside Milford and Te Anau in the West. The Routeburn Track can also be walked from The Divide Shelter in the West, finishing at the Routeburn Shelter in the East.
Regular bus services run to either end of the Routeburn Track (the Routeburn Shelter and The Divide Shelter) from Queenstown. As the iconic Milford Sound is located just 45 minutes drive west of The Divide shelter, a scenic day cruise can easily be incorporated into your itinerary. Travel the length of Milford Sound on a two-hour nature cruise then return to Queenstown by bus the same evening. See our Routeburn Track loop & Milford Sound Package for more information.
Don’t have the right gear? Don’t worry; Info & Track have a range of hiking and tramping essentials available to hire here.
Routeburn Track Essential Information
Time: 2-4 days
Routeburn Track length: 32km
Distance from Queenstown to Routeburn Shelter: 68km
Number of huts/campsites: 3 / 2
Name of the huts: Routeburn Flats Hut, Routeburn Falls Hut, Lake Mackenzie Hut.
Grade: Easy tramping track – well-formed with gradual climbs.
Highlights: The Routeburn Track is a Great Walk for a reason: as well as unbeatable scenery the track offers a high standard of facilities and is well-maintained, making it ideal for all levels of hiker. Look carefully and you may even spot an endangered species of bird, such as the “Mohua” (Yellowhead).
All Services require a minimum of 2 passengers to confirm.
Q. How long is the walk between each hut on the Routeburn Track?
A. A detailed breakdown of the walking distances between each hut can be found on the Routeburn Track Map above. Please be aware that Lake Howden Hut is currently closed due to damage from the bad weather in Feb 2020.
Q. Do I need to book the huts or campsites on the Routeburn Track?
A. Due to the limited numbers allowed in the huts and campsites, you are required to make a reservation during the ‘Great Walks’ season (from late October to April). This can be done through the DOC website.
Q. What facilities are in the Routeburn Track huts/campsites?
A. The Routeburn Track huts have bunks, mattresses, gas, heating, toilets, basic cooking facilities, solar-powered lighting and cold running water. A DOC ranger is in residence during the Great Walks season (late October to late April). The huts do not provide cooking utensils or showers. Great Walks campsites offer basic facilities including toilets, sinks and water supply. Some also have picnic tables and cooking shelters. Great Walks campsites can only be accessed by walking there and are not accessible by vehicle.
Q. Is there a bus service that operates between the Divide Shelter and Glenorchy or the Routeburn Shelter?
A. All buses from Milford, the Divide and Te Anau terminate in Queenstown. To get from Queenstown to Glenorchy or the Routeburn Shelter, you will need to get on another bus. As the latest bus from Queenstown to Glenorchy/Routeburn Shelter leaves at 12.15 pm, you would also need to spend a night in Queenstown. It is possible to get on a 4:30 pm bus from Queenstown, however, minimum numbers do apply to this service, please contact us for more information.
Q. Are there guided options available?
A. Info & Track’s sister company, Nomad Safaris, offer a range of half and full-day guided walking tours in the Queenstown region and in Mt Aspiring National Park, including a half and full-day hike on the Routeburn Track. For more information, please refer to Routeburn Track guided walks.
Q. Are there any other multi-day hikes we can do around this area?