Useful tips for traveling in New Zealand

Routeburn Track : A world's top hike

Routeburn Track : A world's top hike

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand's premier walks, and part of the New Zealand Great Walks network. This ultimate alpine hiking adventure rewards you with spectacular vistas of dramatic alpine peaks, jaw-dropping valleys and stunning beech forests and takes you deep into the Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Park Wilderness areas...

The Routeburn Track is an absolute must-do hike, and rated one of the best hikes in the world!

 


 

Routeburn Track Introduction

The world-renowned Routeburn track is a 33 km tramping track in the south of the South Island traversing both Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Park, and which and can be walked in either direction, starting at either the Divide in Fiordland National Park off Milford Road, or from the Routeburn River just over an hour from Queenstown in Mt Aspiring National Park. As the hike is one-way in either direction, transportation at either end is required to get you back to the beginning. Talk to us about the available options.

The walk can be done over 2, 3 or 4 days depending on your level of fitness and the amount of time you have.

But it's not your legs that will be tired the most after this trek, it will be your eyes. They'll be doing massive overtime and working from the start to finish, the scenery is so ridiculously magnificent!!

 

 Routeburn Flats - Routeburn Track

 

 


 

What makes the Routeburn Track one of the best hikes in the world

 

  • The Routeburn Track offers some of the most dramatic and spectacular alpine scenery in the world.
  • A incredible diversity and variety of landscapes each day, with one day entirely above the bushline.
  • The Routeburn crosses two of the most spectacular National Parks in New Zealand, Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Park
  • Pristine beech forests, alpine lakes, dramatic snow-capped mountains, deep valleys, waterfalls, untouched wilderness,this track has it all!
  • Experience all four seasons during your hike (well at least 3), adding even more scenic drama to the already stellar vistas.
  • Get a glimpse of some of New Zealand's rarest native birdlife
  • Suitable for people of most ages with a reasonable fitness levels.

 


 

Routburn Track Quick Facts

 

 

  • Track length              : 33 km
  • Duration                    : 2,3 or 4 days depending on level of fitness.
  • Best time to visit      : End of October unti early May.
  • Difficulty                  : Moderate level of fitness required
  • Age                           : Not suitable for children under the age of 10.
  • Bookings                  : Bookings are required for huts and campsites (well in advance!
  • Total elevation gain : Approximately 1300m spread across the three days
  • Weather                   : Prepare for alpine weather conditions, any day, any time of year.

 

 


Routeburn Track Profile

 

Routeburn Track Profile


 

Routeburn Track Day by Day 

 

 

Day 1: Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Falls

3–4 hours, 9.8km

The track begins at Routeburn Shelter, gently winding alongside the crystal-clear Route Burn (river). After passing Sugarloaf Stream, you’ll climb to Bridal Veil Waterfall and continue above the gorge. A swing bridge leads to open grassed flats, and the Routeburn Flats Hut and Campsite. The track then climbs steadily through stunning beech forest, providing views of the Humboldt Mountains. End the day at Routeburn Falls Hut, on the edge of the bushline and close to the impressive Routeburn Falls cascade.

 

Day 2: Routeburn Falls to Lake MacKenzie

4 hours 30 minutes – 6 hours, 11.3km

On day 2, you’ll climb steadily up the valley, through wetlands and tussock-covered flats, before sidling along the bluffs above Lake Harris to reach the highest point on the track at Harris Saddle/ Tarahaka Whakatipu (1,255 metres). The track then descends and traverses along the exposed Hollyford Face, with expansive views over the Darran Mountains. This section of the track is well-known for its impressive array of alpine plants. A steady descent leads to Lake Mackenzie Hut, set beside the enchanting Lake Mackenzie.

 

Day 3: Lake Mackenzie to The Divide

4 hours – 5 hours 30 minutes, 12km

Leaving Lake Mackenzie Hut, the track crosses a small flat before climbing to the bushline. A gradual descent then leads past the ‘Orchard’, an open grassy area dotted with ribbonwood trees, to the impressive Earland Falls (174 metres). The track continues its descent through beech forest to Lake Howden Hut and on to The Divide. A popular side trip (1 hr 30 min) to Key Summit climbs to an alpine wetland with panoramic views over Fiordland mountains and alpine lakes.

 


Did we mention it is also one of New Zealand's Great Walks

 

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand's Great Walks and therefore requires permits to access. The New Zealand Great Walks only allow a limited number of people on the track each day, and combined with its immense popularity, availability becomes limited pretty quickly. In fact, demand for this hike is so high that bookings should be made many months in advance to guarantee your spot in one of the hut accommodations on the track...!!

The huts along the track are well serviced and include bunk beds, gas stoves for cooking, wooden fireplace, toilet and friendly hut wardens. The huts contain bunk beds, and unless you're early and lucky enough to score a single bunkbed, you'll be sharing a bunk that sleeps up to eight people, so that means a lot of snoring after a long day's walk. It is therefore highly recommended to bring some decent earplugs.

For those limited on time or who didn't manage to book accommodation in the huts, it is still a fantastic experience to spend one full day on the Routeburn Track. From the Divide road end, the 3-4 hour return walk to Key Summit is a phenomenal short day walk, showcasing dramatic alpine scenery and deep valleys with incredible vistas. The walk to the Routeburn Flats from the Glenorchy side is also a great day option with cascading waterfalls, beech forests and the mighty impressive Routeburn Valley.

 

 

Lake Mackenzie - Routeburn Track          Lake Mackenzie - Routeburn Track


When to hike the Routeburn

 

Hiking the Routeburn Track is generally undertaken from late October until early May.

Winter is not a suitable time due to snow and avalanche risk. You need to be experienced and well prepared for hiking in New Zealand winter season


 

Which weather to expect on the Routeburn Track

 

Weather on the Routeburn Track is, well fairly unpredictable, and that's putting it mildly. It is simply impossible to book this trip with continuous good weather in mind, even during summer, so come prepared and bring clothing for any weather conditions.

This region of New Zealand receives an annual rainfall between 4-5m, and that's a lot of rain! Don't let it put you off though, even in wet weather conditions nature here provides for a different spectacle with many thundering waterfalls cascading down the steep mountain sides. The track can get flooded at times, so it is imperative you do check the weather conditions before venturing out.

As the Routeburn Track is an alpine hike which includes almost an entire day above the bushline, also prepare for cold weather, as it can go from warm temperatures to freezing weather conditions pretty rapidly.


 

Getting There

 

The Routeburn Shelter can be accessed by road on partically unsealed road, about 25km (30 minutes) from Glenorchy.

The Divide Shelter is about 85km from Te Anau towards Milford Sound along the Milford Road

 

Routeburn Track Valley


 

What to bring

You're going on a multi-day hiking adventure in some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet, so now what should you bring along?

You won't be able to buy food on the track, which means you'll have to carry it yourself. You might be exposed to the full force of the elements at times, that means bringing clothes for all of these conditions.

So here's a list that may guide you to prepare yourself for the Routeburn Track:

Personal Equipment:

  • Backpack (40-60 litre size for multi-day hiking)
  • Waterproof/plastic backpack liner
  • Sleeping bag (3/4 season)
  • First Aid Kit (including insect repellent, sunscreen, blisterkit, personal medication)
  • Survival kit (survival blanket, whistle, paper, pencil, high energy sncak food)
  • Drink Bottle (1-2l)
  • Eating and cooking utensils
  • Matches or lighter in waterproof container
  • Toiletries
  • Torch/flashlight
  • Rubbish bag
  • Hut tickets and ID
  • Portable stove and fuel
  • Toilet paper

Clothing:

  • At least one set of clothes to walk in, and another dry set to change into at night
  • Walking boots or firm footwear
  • Socks (wool/polypropylene)
  • Quick drying shorts
  • Shirts (wool/polypropylene)
  • Under layers top and bottom (wool/polypropylene)
  • Mid-layers (wool or fleece)
  • Raincoat (wind and waterproof with hood)
  • Overtrousers (wind and waterproof)
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Sunhat/sunglasses
  • Extra socks

Must-take

  • Camera, surely you're not going to do this hike without capturing it on camera
  • Earplugs

 Bring food that's lightweight, fast cooking and high in energy value.

 


Routeburn Track all you need to know video

 

 

 

 


 

 

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Taranaki

 

 

Taranaki might be a slightly less known region in New Zealand, unless you're a keen surfer or windsurfer. The landscape is dominated by the perfectly shaped volcanic cone which is Mt Taranaki, or Mt Egmont. At 2500m not only does it entirely dominate the landscape, but it also creates its own climate. On any given day, the winds may be reaching gale force on one side of the mountain, while on the other side you may be relaxing on the beach without a sigh of wind, such is the impact of the mountain.

In winter you may ski down the mountain in the morning, and in summer there are a number of excellent hiking opportunities, including hikes to the summit or right around the mountain.

Surf Highway 45 offers word class surf and windsurfing conditions and the black iron sandy beaches are wild and beautiful and aplenty.

 

Marlborough

 

When travelling from the North Island to the South Island on the Interislander ferry, the sheltered waterways of the Marlborough Sounds are the first sight. Picton is the destination port, and a good base to go walking, fishing, sailing, kayaking and exploring the many secluded bays in the Sounds. 

The Marlborough region is internationally recognized for its world class wine, most notably its Sauvignon Blanc, and there are many different ways to sample these wines as their are many wineries offering excellent wine tours. By bike, or by luxury old timer cars, the creativity with which these tours are organized is brilliant. The seafood in this region is also sumptuous, great to combine with a glass of the local wines.

Those put off by the large crowds on the Abel Tasman Track will love the Queen Charlotte Track. The beaches are a little less exquisite, but the coastal scenery is still stunning and there are many accommodation options aolong the track.

Nelson - Tasman

 

 

The Nelson-Tasman region is blessed with an incredibly diverse natural beauty, offering no less than three of the finest National Parks in the country. From the golden beaches of Abel Tasman National Park, dramatic and lush rainforests in Kahurangi National Park, to the alpine environment of Nelson Lakes National Park, this region has it all. The area around Nelson is also one of the sunniest in the country, due to the protecting surrounding hills, so it's a popular region with travelers.

Nelson is the South Island's second largest city, noted for its fruit-growing industry in the Motueka Valley, wineries and micro-breweries. It also has an energetic local arts and crafts community with local artists exhibiting their products on the famed Nelson market every Saturday. Nearby Rabbit Island boasts great swimming beaches, boating fishing and forest walks. 

Further west, Motueka is the centre of a green tea, hops and fruit-growing area, and is a good base to explore the nearby parks. The drive over Takaka Hill takes you into Golden Bay, whre you may find the biggest cave in the Southern Hemisphere as well as New Zealand's largest freshwater spring, the Waikoropupu Springs, simply called "Pupu Springs", with reputedly the clearest water in the world.

Kaikoura

 

Kaikoura is a unique place by the sea where marine wildlife lives in abundance, against the backdrop of the impressive Kaikoura mountain ranges. It is well known for its range of eco-tourism activities and getting up close with the main inhabitant along its shores, the giant Sperm Whale.

Whale watching in Kaikoura is simply a must-do as you're guaranteed to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, and along the way you're most likely to see a pod of bottlenose or duksy dolphins play in the water, be impressed by the take-off and water landing of the Royal Albatross, and see a bunch of sea lions lazing about on a rock, suc is the diversity.

The ocean here also provides some spectacular seafood, and a stay in Kaikoura may not go by without having tried the crayfish

Aoraki - Mt Cook

 

 

The approach to new Zealand's tallest mountain, Mt Cook, via the blue lake of Lake Pukaki is something you will remember for a lifetime. At 3754m Mt Cook entirely dominates the landscape and as you draw ever closer, its imperious glaze on you only gets more and more impressive.

Mt Cook National Park, along with Aspiring and Westland National Parks, have been incorporated into a World Heritage Area extending from the Cook River in Westland down to the base of Fiordland. Of the 27 mountains in New Zealand which are over 300om, 22 of them are in Mt Cook National Park. The park also boasts New Zealand's longest glacier, the Tasman Glacier.

The park offer numerous hikes to get up close with Mt Cook, but also offer many other exciting adventure activities, such as mountaineering, helicopter flights, heli-skiing and sea-kayaking on glacial waters.

West Coast - Glaciers

 

 

The West Coast or Westland is a rugged and wild land with rocky beaches, deep river gorges,  bush-clad hills and towering icy-peaks. Extending across a 600km long stretch on the western side of the Southern Alps, a visit here takes you through a myriad of five National Parks, yes five!!, including the World Heritage Area - Te Wahipounamu. Each of the national parks - Kahurangi, Paparoa, Arthur's Pass, Westland and Mt Aspiring National Parks - have their their own unique and distinct features. You'll find New Zealand's highest mountains, most dense and lush rainforests, natural rivers, glacial lakes, deepest gorges,  and of course the two phenomenal Glaciers themselves, Fox and Franz Josef.

Wanaka

 

 

Wanaka receives slightly less attention than it's more famous neighbour Queenstown, only about an hour away, but one may argue which of the two towns is nestled in the most impressive scenery. While that may be a very difficult question to answer, Wanaka boasts a similar range of adrenaline activities, but with some more serenity about it all.  The town offers fine dining and living and is the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park and the Treble Cone, Cardrona, Harris Mountains and Pisa Range ski areas. Every second Easter, Wanaka hosts the incredibly popular Warbirds over Lake Wanaka, a huge international air show that sees the town swell with visitors.

The central feature of the region is Mt Aspiring, surrounded by the national park with the same name. The alpine scenery does not get any more dramatic than this in New Zealand, and offers some of the best hiking in the country. The park has wide valleys, secluded flats, more than 100 glaciers and towering mountains. The southern end of the park around Glenorchy receives most visitors and includes popular hikes such as the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand's great walks, but there are also excellent shorter walks and more demanding hikes in the Matukituki Valley close to Wanaka. 


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Millenniumm Queenstown

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Right in the heart of the action, Millennium Hotel Queenstown is just minutes from Queenstown central shopping, entertainment and outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating. The popular ski destinations of Coronet Peak, Remakables, and Cardrona are also close by. 

This luxury hotel also offers accessible rooms for special needs guests with their friendly staff on hand to assist you anytime. Most of this accommodation also offers scenic views of Queenstown city and mountains, providing the perfect backdrop to your trip. Millennium Hotel Queenstown is a 4-star plus and Enviro-Gold Qualmark rated hotel, with an Environmental Sustainability Plan for the future. 

Citylife Wellington (Heritage)

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Wellington prides itself on being not only the country’s capital, but also its cultural capital – and there’s no better place to soak up the atmosphere than CityLife Wellington, with hotel accommodation located right in the heart of the city. Situated on Lambton Quay, you’ll find the best shopping, tourist attractions and cultural landmarks all within easy walking distance.

When you want a breather, the hotel offers plenty of ways to make the most of your downtime. Enjoy a hotel experience unlike other Wellington hotels.

Whether you’re seeking Wellington accommodation for work, rest or play, our spacious rooms offer you the comforts of home - with the added benefits of housekeeping and room service.

Offering a range of one and two bedroom serviced apartments, After an exciting day of sightseeing or business, you can now enjoy an even better night's sleep with extra comfy beds in all rooms.

 

Rutherford Nelson (Heritage)

 Image result for rutherford nelson a heritage hotel

Whether you’re visiting our incredible region for business or pleasure, Rutherford Hotel Nelson is the obvious choice for luxury accommodation in Nelson.

Rutherford Hotel Nelson is Nelson’s only 24-hour fully-serviced hotel, offering luxurious rooms and suites – ideal for corporate travelers, families and conference delegates. The central location means Nelson’s many galleries and City attractions are just a stone’s throw away. All rooms have a view of the harbour, city, historic South Street or Nelson’s beautiful cathedral.

The stylish accommodation will suit anyone looking for a great place to stay in Nelson, whether you’re here on holiday, in town for a wedding or visiting Nelson for a conference. 

 

Distinction Hotel Lake Te Anau

 

Get away from it all, and escape into the serene surroundings of Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Lake Te Anau before heading out to explore the world-famous beauty of Fiordland including Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. With its range of modern hotel accommodation options, 2 on-site restaurants, FREE unlimited WiFi, complimentary guest car parking and an excellent standard of service, the team at Distinction Luxmore Hotel will make your stay in Te Anau comfortable and enjoyable.
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Conveniently located in the heart of Te Anau's town shopping centre and a short stroll from Lake Te Anau, the South Island's largest lake and launching pad for many water based activities. The 180 room Distinction Luxmore Hotel offers guests a wide range of modern, refurbished hotel accommodation.

Alpine Resort Wanaka (Distinction)

 Image result for alpine resort wanaka


Distinction Wanaka Alpine Resort is nestled in a quiet Lake Wanaka location and guests can enjoy access to the resort facilities whilst staying in the serviced apartments. The stylish, self-contained, serviced apartments each provide a high level of personal comfort and convenience, perfect for all seasons.

They offer a fully equipped kitchen, televisions with 50+ channels of SKY channels, free WiFi, under-floor heating in the bathrooms, private & secure car garages, perfect for storing additional equipment such as skis and bikes. Enquire about daily, weekly and longer term servicing options..

Scenic Hotel Napier

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We invite you to enjoy quality 4-star hotel accommodation of an international standard. From the moment you step into our spacious, light-filled lobby, you will experience our commitment to quality and customer service. If you fancy waking up to serene ocean views, Scenic Hotel Te Pania is the perfect place to start your day in Hawke’s Bay. Simply leave the curtains open, roll over in bed, and soak it all in. 

Hawke's Bay is one of the first places in the world to see the light each day, with Napier hotel enjoying a premium waterfront location on Napier's Marine Parade. The hotel’s slender curved form echoes the shape of the bay and guests are treated to sweeping views out over the water. A fresh, contemporary style hotel, Scenic Hotel Te Pania is just a short stroll from Napier’s main art deco style street and is located in close proximity to many of Napier's attractions..

 

Scenic Franz Josef

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In the heart of the village and edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier is only a breath away from the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier. 

This hotel offers everything you need to be able to explore this dramatic region in style and comfort. With an exceptional restaurant, serving hearty, West Coast fare, and the Moa Bar with its open fireplace, you are never without choice. Plus, with the private hot pools and our Amaia Luxury Spa close by, you can enjoy time out to rejuvenate after a day taking in the many walking tracks and other outdoor pursuits. 

Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel, plus a guest information and booking service will ensure that you can make the most of every minute you spend in the Westland region.

 

Funyaks + Jet Boat

  Image result for funyak + jet boat queenstown

This day in and around Queenstown takes you deep into "Paradise", near Glenorchy in Mt Aspiring National Park.

An unmissable experience with the exhilaration of a wilderness jet boat ride combined with a leisurely downstream float on easy to use Funyaks (inflatable kayaks) awaits you. This trip is a must-do to explore the truly unique Dart River. Your amazing journey begins with an exhilarating jet boat ride up the Dart River deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park. From here you’ll then travel back down river at your own pace in our unique Funyaks exploring pristine waters as they flow from the Southern Alps to Lake Wakatipu, hidden side streams with amazing rock pools and dramatic chasms.
Just when you think your Funyaks adventure is over, you will enjoy a gourmet buffet lunch before heading via 4 wheel drive coach to locations used in the movies to illustrate Middle Earth from ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’.

Milford Sound Cruise

  Image result for milfors dound cruise

Description: A spectacular two-hour cruise to the mouth of the fiord on a spacious, classic vessel with excellent viewing opportunities. The Haven has large windows, spacious decks and beanbag lounges which offer uninterrupted views of towering peaks and surging waterfalls. Keep a look out for seals basking on the rocks, dolphins and penguins. Enjoy scenic highlights such as Mitre Peak and Stirling Falls. Informative commentary from the captain explains the history and highlights points of interest during the cruise. Suitable for all ages.

Departure Point: Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, Milford Sound.

Peppers Bluewater Resort - Lake Tekapo

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Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world.

Peppers Bluewater Resort is set amongst the purest natural landscape. Romantic and secluded, your accommodation in Lake Tekapo reflects the beautiful landscape surrounding you.

You can explore the natural wonders of Mount Cook and the Mackenzie region from here. Marvel at an International Dark Sky Reserve with millions of stars. Ride horses through the mountains, catch a scenic flight to Franz Josef glacier, go skiing, or immerse yourself in the Tekapo Springs Day Spa and Hot Pools.