The Routeburn Track and Other Iconic Walks Itinerary

Hiking Routeburn Track

Welcome to New Zealand

Kia Ora, welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island.

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch is our "Garden City", blessed with beautiful parks and gardens right in the heart of town. English heritage buildings sit side by side with innovative post-earthquake regeneration in this vibrant place.

After settling in, why not relax with punting trip down the Avon River? Gliding gently along in a flat-bottomed boat, you will take in Christchurch's 'must-see' historic attractions and botanic gardens away from the hustle and bustle of the streets.

Chill out and enjoy your first day in New Zealand - the adventure starts tomorrow!

Some suggested activities to help you to get to know the region

Easygoing Cycling Tour   Punting the Avon River  Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise
Māori Cultural EveningFrench Akaroa TourSouthern Alps Ballooning
Christchurch GondolaClearwater GolfArthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike

Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 night

Novotel offers a modern and unique venue, full of charm and sophistication — with all the facilities would you expect from a 4.5 star hotel, including the Square Restaurant and Bar, free internet iMac station and a fitness centre.The modern tower, offers 154 contemporary guest rooms each a peaceful space designed for natural living with a comfortable bed, a work desk and high speed wireless internet.
Novotell Christchurch


Aoraki / Mount Cook via Beautiful Lake Tekapo

Leaving the city behind, you'll drive to Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park today for your first taste of pristine New Zealand backcountry.

On the scenic drive south, enjoy the high-country splendour of the Mackenzie Basin before reaching peaceful Lake Tekapo. Be sure to visit the tiny Church of The Good Shepherd by the shore of the turquoise lake, dwarfed by an impressive mountain backdrop.

Just over an hour away, Mount Cook Village awaits you. Home to New Zealand's highest mountain, and boasting 23 peaks over 3000m tall, Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park will take your breath away.

Tonight, wrap up warm and point your eyes towards the heavens: when the stars come out in this Dark Sky Reserve, you can witness one of the greatest light shows on earth.

Approximate Distance: 332 km | 206 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours

Accommodation: Mt Cook - 2 nights

Lake Tekapo

A stunning destination surrounded by the silent splendor of the Southern Alps and with spectacular views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and the surrounding National Park World Heritage area. There is a selection of properties within the Terrace Road campus from Hotel to Chalet and Mountainview Motels - all budgets and standards can be catered for.

Hermitage Hotel Mount Cook


Glacial Lands: The Hooker Valley Track

Step into an ice-capped world of giant glaciers and alpine meadows on a guided walk on one of New Zealand's finest one-day trails: the Hooker Valley Track.

Hooker Valley Guided Hike: 5 Hours Walking 
This stunning 11 km (6.8 miles) trek leads you to the terminal lake of the Hooker Glacier. The trail winds through the Hooker Valley in the shadow of Aoraki /Mount Cook, crossing the mighty Hooker River on old-fashioned swing bridges. When you reach the lake there are unsurpassed vistas of Aoraki / Mount Cook's south face and the surrounding glaciers.

With a knowledgeable guide by your side, the unique history, flora, and fauna of the area are brought alive while you walk.

Hooker Valley


History, Steampunk and Penguins: Journey to Oamaru

Heading back to the coast today, you'll discover the heritage town of Oamaru, where you can glimpse the world's smallest (and cutest) penguin at nightfall.

Arriving in Oamaru, step back in time with a stroll through the Victorian Precinct. The splendid nineteenth-century whitestone buildings are home to an array of galleries and specialty stores.

Oamaru is considered the Steampunk capital of the world, and the Steampunk Museum in town is well worth a look.

Visit Oamaru Harbour at sunset for a special treat. Each night as darkness falls, a local colony of Little Blue Penguins waddle up the steep bank to return to their nests. Locals and visitors alike gather to watch the penguin parade, a sight not to be missed

Approximate Distance: 210 kms | 130 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 30 Min

Accommodation: Oamaru - 1 Night


Quiet and private Executive Motel Accommodation in a village like setting, Highfield Mews places you in the heart of Oamaru. Within easy walking distance of the town's cafés, restaurants, shops and Historic Precinct. Luxurious interiors complemented by unique design Highfield Mews is enhanced with many features and comforts that have resulted in these superb suites.

Free Wifi and bike hire just part of the excellent range of facilities on offer.


Dunedin via the Moeraki Boulders & Wildlife Experience

Your journey down the east coast continues towards the old university town of Dunedin.

Be sure to stop en route at Koekohe Beach to admire the Moeraki Boulders. There are over 50 of these 65-million-year-old natural wonders strewn along the sands. They are up to 2 metres wide and the largest weight around 7 tonnes!

The name "Dunedin" comes from the Scots-Gaelic name for Edinburgh: "Dun Eideann" and you won't have to look hard to see the Scottish influence in this lovely old university town

This afternoon take an unforgettable wildlife tour exploring the wild Otago Peninsula. Bus out early-afternoon along the scenic roads of the Otago Peninsula. You will visit the Penguin Place Conservation Reserve, home to the beautiful, quirky Yellow Eyed Penguin - the most endangered penguin in the world, found only on the South East Coast of New Zealand. This is followed by a cruise where you get to see one of the worlds only mainland nesting locations of the Royal Albatross. Whilst cruising you'll watch as NZ Fur seals play and swim near their breeding colonies.

Approximate Distance: 113 km | 70 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 28 Min

Accommodation: Dunedin - 1 Night

Fur Seal
This boutique beachfront hotel offers rooms with super-king sized beds and broadband internet access. Some rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking St Clair's Beach. This property is 2 minutes walk from the beach. Hotel St Clair is located just 10 minutes’ drive from central Dunedin. Rooms include flat-screen satellite TV, en suite bathroom with under-floor heating and views of St Clair Beach.
Hotel St Clair


Clyde - Gold Rush Fever

Today's destination, Clyde, is a beautifully preserved historic township nestled in a gorge beside the mighty Clutha River. Just 10 minutes northwest of Alexandra, this gorgeous Central Otago town was born of gold, fruit trees, and the Otago Central Railway.

In 1862, two prospecting miners headed to the banks of the Clutha River alongside Clyde. After they struck gold, a ‘rush’ soon followed. At its peak, the mining community swelled to 14,000 people, and the town included 28 pubs and 30 opium dens!

Today Clyde is more famous for its wealth of orchards and vineyards, but many historic turn-of-the-century buildings are still standing proud and strong.

Approximate Distance: 197 kms | 122 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 29 Min

Accommodation: Clyde - 1 Night

Experience history alive in discerning, contemporary style at Olivers Central Otago. Accommodation that is elegant, unique and gloriously comfortable. Choose between the five Stables rooms, with a rustic ambience reminiscent of Central Otago pioneering days or the six Lodge rooms that showcase elegant contemporary interiors. A unique memorable dining experience at Olivers Restaurant.
Olivers Clive


Tranquil Te Anau: Gateway to Fiordland

Swapping coastal beauty for mountain majesty, today you will journey Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Te Anau is another area of breathtaking natural beauty, and several key Lord of The Rings movie scenes were filmed amid the unspoiled forests and lakes of this region.

Immerse yourselves in the gorgeous surroundings: flight-seeing, fly fishing, kayaking, sailing and horse riding are all on offer and are great ways to get up close to nature. You can also visit the underground waterfall and glow-worm grotto of the Te Anau Caves.

Some of the best-loved New Zealand Great Walks begin nearby, such as the Routeburn, and Kepler Tracks. And of course the iconic Milford Track, which welcomes you tomorrow.

Approximate Distance: 290 km | 7180miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours

Accommodation: Te Anau - 2 Nights 

Te Anau
Located on the Te Anau lake front, a short stroll from the Te Anau town centre, Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas is perfectly situated for you to make the most of this beautiful area. The rooms are very comfortable and the hotel has all the facilities you would expect from a property of this standard.Distinction Te Anua Hotel and Villas, offering chic, elegant accommodation. This 4 Star hotel is surrounded by extensive landscaped gardens where you can enjoy the spectacular view of Lake Te Anua and the Fiordland ranges.
Distinction Hotel Te Anau & Villas


The Splendour of Milford Sound

Milford Track Guided Hike: 3.5 Hours Walking, Distance 11 km (6.8 mi)

Prepare to be awed by some of the most dramatic scenery New Zealand has to offer as the Milford Track carries you towards the splendor of Milford Sound.

Milford Track Guided Walk and Cruise 
You begin with a short boat ride to Sandfly point, where you'll enter a realm of ancient forests filled with countless species of ferns and springy mosses. As you and your guide walk alongside the cascading Arthur river, you are treated to impressive views of the powerful Giants Gate falls.

After exploring on foot to your heart's content, you'll board your cruise vessel and sail the full length of the Milford Sound, dwarfed by towering cliffs all around you. The onboard nature guide will tell you all about the seals, penguins, and dolphins who frequently visit this mesmerising location.

Milford Track


Routeburn Track Day 1: The Divide to Lake Mackenzie

After driving back through Te Anau to The Divide, you'll begin your Routeburn experience with a hike to Lake Mackenzie Lodge.

You'll start with an ascent along the well-formed track towards Key Summit. Admire pristine alpine landscapes and enjoy the fresh mountain air as you gaze down at the three valleys far below!

Pausing at Lake Howden Hut for lunch, you will then ascend through lush silver beech forest to the cascading Earland Falls. Drink in the views of the Hollyford Valley and the ice-capped Darran Mountains before descending to Lake Mackenzie.

A welcome hot shower, a three-course meal, and a comfy bed await you at Lake Mackenzie Lodge.

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Walking Distance: 13 km (8 mi) - 5 to 6 Hours 

Accommodation: Lake Mackenzie Lodge - 1 Night

The Guided Routeburn Track
The face of Lake MacKenzie Lodge is predominantly glass allowing you to take in phenomenal views of the Darren Mountains. These lodges have been designed and purpose built with everything, right down to the last nail, flown in by helicopter. The result is total comfort in the last place you would expect it.
Lake Mackenzie Lodge - Routeburn Track


Routeburn Track Day 2: Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls

Climbing out of the Mackenzie Basin, cross the Hollyford Face to the Harris Saddle before descending to the delightful Routeburn Falls.

Emerging from the forest this morning, you find yourselves in one of greatest natural gardens on earth. You will feast your eyes on all manner of daisies and buttercups, gentians and edelweiss and other fascinating alpine plants.

For many hikers, the traverse along the Hollyford Face offers the most spectacular scenery of the whole track. With the Darran Mountains ahead and the Hollyford Valley far below, you are in a big country.

At the end of today's walk, you're greeted by the welcome sight of the Routeburn Falls and the stunning lower valley.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Walking Distance: 15 km (9 mi) - 5 to 7 Hours 

Accommodation: Routeburn Falls Lodge - 1 Night

Day 2 Routeburn Track
Routeburn Falls Lodge is the newest wilderness lodges, that offers stunning views and magnificent facilities. Set up near the Routeburn falls This hut offers fabulous views over the Route Burn valley and Humboldt Mountains.
Falls Lodge


Routeburn Track Day 3: Routeburn Falls to the Routeburn Road

For your final day on the Routeburn, you can take it easy - the hard work is over!

Descending to Routeburn Flats through gorgeous beech forest, the landscape transforms before your eyes as the altitude lowers. Below the flats, the Routeburn River surges between boulders in frothing white torrents before resting in clear jade pools where you can stop for a swim.

Your adventure ends with a gentle stroll through a gnarled red beech forest, and you emerge at the Routeburn Road where a coach will be waiting to return you to civilization.

The drive back to Queenstown along the eastern edge of Lake Wakatipu is the icing on the cake. One of the most scenic drives in the South Island, it's the perfect way to round off your Routeburn experience.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Walking Distance: 10 km (6 mi) - 3 to 4 Hours 

Accommodation: Queenstown - 2 nights

Routeburn River

Your European styled boutique hotel is awaiting you in Queenstown, situated in a quiet yet central location with an easy 3 minute walk to local shops and restaurants. Take in the stunning views of the town, lakes and mountains as you enjoy a delicious cooked or continental breakfast on your private outdoor patio. In the winter months cuddle up with an open fire as you take in the gorgeous alpine backdrop. 

Browns Boutique Hotel - Queenstown


Queenstown at Leisure

A full day for you to enjoy Queenstown and its surrounds.

Adrenalin junkies, we can arrange virtually any activity you can think of from a bungy jump into Kawarau Gorge, a swing across Shotover Canyon, or a skydive into Paradise.

For a more peaceful day, there are beautiful drives in the local area. Head to historic Arrowtown for quaint streetscapes and leafy views. Or drive to Glenorchy for a horseback ride through Lord of The Rings country. You could explore local wineries, cheese-eries and orchards by car or by bike.

Like the landscape the options are endless: chat to our travel specialists for more great suggestions for your perfect Queenstown day.

Recommended Queenstown excursions:

Routeburn Day WalkHighest Bungey JumpExplore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon      Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise  Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail



Bon Voyage!

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage! Today we say farewell. We take care of your transfer to Queenstown Airport where you will board your onward flight, taking with you the magical memories of a truly exceptional New Zealand holiday.




To enjoy your walk you need to be able to carry a medium-sized backpack for 4-8 hours over 10-21km (6 to 13 mi) of mountain track each day. To maximize your enjoyment we encourage you to set your own pace while walking the track, there is no need to keep up with the fastest walkers. There is always a guide at the back of the party. The track surface varies from smooth well-formed paths to rough terrain broken up by rocks and tree roots and we recommend you wear hiking boots, which provide firm ankle support. If you are not a regular walker, we suggest you begin a daily walk regime 6-8 weeks before your departure. Some practice carrying a pack and hill/staircase walking during this time will make you even better prepared for your walk.


Routeburn Tour Map

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What Steve says about this tour: An awesome opportunity to experience three of New Zealand's nine "Great Walks" Tracks: as well as passing through the country's most phenomenal scenery, these premier tracks are well-maintained and a joy to walk on. We'll plan every last detail for you, so don't worry about storing your luggage or shuttling your car from one end of the track to the other - we've got it taken care of!
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Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price