The Routeburn Track was the first of the 9 Great Walks of New Zealand we decided to set ourselves the challenge of hiking in 9 weeks, and it's a pretty special track to start with. Even in bad weather which we had on day one, it's a stunning trail that weaves past electric blue rivers, mountains, glaciers and narrow ridge lines, offering spectacular views when the clouds part.
It's certainly one we'll always remember and we hope these photos will help inspire you to hike The Routeburn Track as well!
The Route Burn River
The start of the trail runs alongside the stunning Route Burn (Burn is a river in New Zealand). Even in grey weather, the river shines a stunning blue.
Routeburn Flats and walking through a cloud
After following the beautiful river, the Routeburn Track arrives at Routeburn Flats, a large open clearing. For most hikers, this would be a view they see for a lot of the track. However, as soon as we left we could only see cloud in front of us, which was still pretty atmospheric.
Routeburn Falls to Harris Saddle
The trail continued ascending, so we climbed higher and higher into the cloud. Until.... for one brief beautiful moment, we could see what was technically right before our eyes all along. This is why you hike the Routeburn Track, the landscapes are out of this world.
Harris Saddle to Lake MacKenzie Hut
6 hours in on day one and we still hadn't finished! We bumped into a ranger at the day shelter at Harris Saddle who was surprised to see that it was nearly 4pm and we hadn't finished for the day. Perhaps we shouldn't have tried to combine day one and two into one!
The cloud returned at the saddle and soon we had even less visibility than before. Sadly we couldn't see the Hollyford Valley and Lake MacKenzie until we descended down beneath the cloud to the hut. I guess it shows just how pretty this track really is, as even in the cloud it still looks good.
Sunset at Lake MacKenzie
After a day of near continuous cloud, the skies cleared for some incredible views and a beautiful sunset appeared as we sat and took it all in at Lake Mackenzie hut.
Lake MacKenzie Hut - Earland Falls
The clear skies continued and we started day two with a skip in our step. Despite the roaring snores of the DOC hut, we were buoyed up by the kind of views we had hoped to see on the trail.
Earland Falls - The Divide
The final stretch of The Routeburn Track was a downhill trail from the huge Earland Falls to The Divide (with a small uphill section to remind us that we shouldn't get too comfortable). It was a pretty incredible way to finish the first of our 9 Great Walks.
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Have you done any of the Great Walks of New Zealand? Would you hike The Routeburn Track? Let us know in the comments below.