The Routeburn track...

The Routeburn Track is one of the 9 Great Walks in New Zealand. This well traveled and well maintained track stretches 32km (20 miles) from the Routeburn Shelter in Mt. Aspiring National Park at the head of Lake Wakatipu to The Divide on the road to Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Over the course of this spectacular 2-3 day walk, you will discover sweeping vistas, dazzling waterfalls and a variety of flora and fauna. We also do track transfers from Kinloch Lodge to the Routeburn and Greenstone tracks.

Download the DOC maps

Profile map (shown below)

Area Map

Track Description

The following descriptions of the different segments of the Routeburn Track are taken from the Department of Conservation's Routeburn Track Brochure.


Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Flats Hut

6.5 km, 1.5 - 2.5 hours

The first segment of the Routeburn Track makes an ideal day walk for those who are short on time.  The wide, well maintained easy graded track crosses several swing bridges, goes past bridal veil falls and over the Routeburn Gorge before opening up to vast grassy flats.  The trail forks at the end of the first segment with the fork to the right leading to Routeburn Flats Hut and the fork to the left continuing on to Routeburn Falls Hut.

Side Trip – North Branch of the Route Burn, 4 - 5 hours return. For great views of Mt. Somnus, Mt. Nereus and North Col, follow the North Branch from the Routeburn Flats Hut across the unbridged Route Burn and  through beech forest & tussock clearings.


Routeburn Flats Hut to
Routeburn Falls Hut

2.3 km, 1 - 1.5 hours

Between the Routeburn Flats Hut and the Routeburn Falls Hut is a significant gain in elevation.  This steady climb through the beech forest crosses 2 swing bridges and offers spectacular views of the valley below.  In 1994, heavy rain created a slip which washed away part of the original track.  Take care when crossing the slip, particularly after heavy rain.  The bridge at Emily Creek is the midway point of this section of the track.  If trekking early or late in the season, beware of avalanches that have been know to fall as far as the bridge.  There are 48 bunks at the Routeburn Falls Hut.


Routeburn Falls Hut to
Lake Mackenzie Hut

11.3 km, 4.5 - 6 hours

This sub-alpine section of the Routeburn track is very exposed and can be extremely hazardous in adverse weather conditions. You should always listen to the advice of Department of Conservation staff in such conditions. From the Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie, the track climbs steadily following the Route Burn to its outlet from Lake Harris. A steep sidle through moraine and around the bluffs above Lake Harris leads to the Harris Saddle/Tarahaka Whakatipu (1255m) and the shelter, which is available for day use only. Allow one and a half to two and a half hours for the climb. Sub-alpine herbs and cushion plants are a feature of the vegetation. These areas are very fragile so please keep to the track.

Side trip – Conical Hill, 1 - 2 hours return (This walk is not recommended in snow or adverse weather conditions). A short, steep, rocky climb from the Harris Saddle up Conical Hill gives superb view of the Hollyford Valley through to Lake McKerrow, Martins Bay and the Tasman Sea.

From the saddle the track drops steeply down a gully and traverses along the exposed Hollyford face, before a bush descent onto a series of zig-zags to Lake Mackenzie Hut (50 bunks). Allow three to four hours for the descent from the saddle.

The nine campsites at Lake Mackenzie are located 500m from the hut, halfway round the side of the lake. No camping is permitted between Routeburn Flats Hut and Lake Mackenzie.

Side trip – Head of Lake Mackenzie, 1 hour return.

Follow the track through the bush to the campsite and on towards to the head of Lake Mackenzie.


Lake Mackenzie Hut to Lake Howden Hut

8.6 km, 3 - 4 hours

After the Lake Mackenzie Hut, the track crosses a small flat before climbing steeply to the bushline then gradually descending past the ‘Orchard’ ( an open grassy area) to the Earland Falls (174m).  Should the falls be in flood, an emergency bridge is situated down stream. From this point, the track continues a gradual descent to Lake Howden Hut (28 bunks) which is situated at the junction of the Routeburn and Greenstone/ Caples Tracks.  There is a campsite at the Greenstone Saddle, 20 minutes down the Greenstone Track.


Lake Howden Hut to The Divide

3.4 km, 1 - 1.5 hours.

The track climbs for about 15 minutes to the Key Summit turn-off.

Side trip – Key Summit, one to one and a half hours return. Take the side track which climbs above the bushline to an alpine wetland and tarn interpretive walk. Please remain on the track and boardwalks as this is a fragile area. You will be rewarded with magnificent views of the Darran Mountains and the Hollyford Valley.

From the Key Summit turn-off the gradual downhill walk to The Divide is through silver beech forest. The Divide (532m) is the lowest east/west crossing in the Southern Alps. A shelter, carpark and toilets are located at The Divide.

Routeburn Track FAQs

For years Kinloch Lodge has been accommodating trampers before and after the Routeburn track. We've put together a list of frequently asked questions to help with your pre-track planning.  We are happy to help with all transportation bookings - just send us an email or call us on 034424900.


How far is Kinloch Lodge from the Routeburn Track?

Kinloch Lodge is 19km from the Routeburn Track. Drive time is approximately 30 minutes.

Do you offer transport to the Routeburn Track?

Kinloch Lodge has transportation to the Routeburn Shelter carpark at 9.30am most mornings during walking season. Cost is $27/person. Advanced bookings are essential and minimum numbers apply.

Can I leave my car at Kinloch Lodge while I walk the Routeburn Track?

YES!  We offer free car parking whilst on the Routeburn Track.

Can I leave some luggage at Kinloch Lodge while on the track?

Yes. Kinloch Lodge offers free luggage storage for guests staying at our accommodation before or after the Routeburn Track. Luggage storage for non-guests is not available at this time.

I want to walk out earlier/later than scheduled times. What are pick up options?

Kinloch Lodge can arrange for chartered transportation outside of scheduled times to/from the Routeburn and Greenstone/Caples tracks. Call (03) 442-4900 or email for a transportation quote.

How can I get my vehicle from the Routeburn Shelter to the Divide?

Trackhopper can relocate your car from one end of the Routeburn track to the other. Visit Trackhopper's website for more information.

How can I book accommodation on the Routeburn Track?

The Department of Conservation has an online booking system for accommodation on the Routeburn Track

How much does it cost to stay in a hut?

The cost of accommodation in the DOC huts on the Routeburn Track is $54/person/night. Cost of accommodation in huts on the Greenstone or Caples tracks is $15/person/night.  Bookings are essential as space can be limited from Dec - March.

Do you hire sleeping bags and other gear?

No. Sleeping bags and other gear you may need for the track can be hired from Info & Track in Queenstown.

I’ll be walking out of the Greenstone Caples in the afternoon, how do I get back to my car at the Routeburn carpark?

There is regularly scheduled transport from the Greenstone/Caples carpark to Kinloch at 12pm.  Cost is $22pp. From there, you can either hire a bike ($10/hr) and cycle the 19km up to the Routeburn carpark or take our transport the following morning back to your car ($27pp).

I’ll be walking out of the Routeburn in the afternoon, how can I get to Kinloch Lodge?

Transfers will be running at 4pm during the summer.

I only want to walk one way - how can I get back from the Divide to Queenstown or Kinloch?

There are several options for transport from The Divide.  Please call or email with your dates and specific requirements and we will help you determine the best option given your time or budget constraints.

Are there any daywalks on the Routeburn?

YES!  The Routeburn Track is great for daywalks.  The wide, well maintained track is accessible for most any fitness level. You can do the easy 1hr Nature Trail or walk up to the Routeburn Flats Hut (4hr return) or Routeburn Falls Hut (6hrs return).  Fit individuals can even make it to Harris Saddle and back in a day.

Can't find the answer to your question? Call us on (03) 442-4900 or email with your questions.

Track Transfers Summer Offer

Cheaper transfers are available as non-refundable and non-changeable tickets which must be paid for in advance, bookable by web only. Minimum 2 people required.

Kinloch - Routeburn 9.30am

Routeburn - Kinloch 10am

$18 per person one way

Kinloch - Greenstone 11.30am

Greenstone - Kinloch 12pm

$15 per person one way

Valid from 27th October 2016 until the end of April 2017.

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Certificate of Excellence

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