Glenorchy/Routeburn Trail

Jan 27th, 2009, 10:52 AM
  #1  
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Glenorchy/Routeburn Trail

It seems every day I find somewhere even more amazing that I want to see when in NZ! I've been seeing pics of the Road to Glenorchy & it looks really beautiful and I definitely want to do this drive.

However, we are also planning to do a day hike on the Routeburn Trail, which I just read is accessible from Glenorchy. So - should we do Routeburn from the Milford Road or Glenorchy? Is one more appealing than the other?
AngelaS is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 02:59 PM
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Hello again Angela -

The road to Glenorchy is gorgeous, it's about 44 kms from Queenstown, so can easily be done as a day trip. The Routeburn is accessible from the Glenorchy side and from the Milford side, but it's much more difficult to reach the trail head from the Glenorchy side. It involves driving quite a distance on unsealed roads and crossing a cow paddock and a few fords. It's not a drive you want to try after there's been rain, as the fords flood and you could bottom out your rental car.

Although it's no doubt a rental car violation, we've made the journey several times.

Both ends of the Routeburn are gorgeous, but I felt the scenery on the Milford side was much more spectacular, especially at Key Summit - fantastic.

If you have the time, you might want to make a day trip to Glenorchy and take the Dart River Jet Boat Safari - you'll see some of beautiful Mt Aspring National Park and be able to experience the scenery on that side of the track without having to drive to the trail head.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 27th, 2009, 05:00 PM
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Angela -

To give you an idea of the differences in scenery between the two ends of the Routeburn, here are the links to a few of my photos:

Key Summit (Milford side of the Ruteburn Track)-

http://www.worldisround.com/articles...6/photo42.html

Lake Howden (Milford side)

http://www.worldisround.com/articles...6/photo38.html

Driving from Queenstown to Glenorchy -

http://www.worldisround.com/articles.../photo139.html

Dart River, Glenorchy -

http://www.worldisround.com/articles.../photo130.html
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 28th, 2009, 12:21 AM
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I agree with Melnq8 that it seemed like the scenery on the Routeburn track from the Milford side is very nice. After our hike we headed down to Milford Sound, where there is a casual restaurant, and were delighted it was still open for dinner, since we were tired, and wet! (It had started to rain as we walked back from our hike to our car.)

Enjoy gorgeous NZ!
Melissa5 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 07:00 AM
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Melnq - thanks so much for all the tips (you've replied to all my posts! =)

It's really good to know about driving on unsealed roads. I wouldn't want any trouble with the rental car. On other sites people have recommended doing the trail from both ends. I think from your advice we'll do Routeburn from the Milford Road. I'll look into the Dart River. I'll have to view your pics from home as the site is restricted here at work! =(

One more question - we were wondering if it's necessary to buy hiking boots for our trip. Currently we don't have any, and were wondering if decent tennis shoes (exercising shoes) would suffice for the trails we want to do (mainly just Routeburn). We will also be in Rotorua and the Waitomo caves and want to do some lite exploring in the SI (not any major overnight tramps) so I'm wondering if it's worth the purchase? Thanks! =)
AngelaS is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Hi Angela -

If you're only planning to walk a portion of the Routeburn, sneakers will probably be okay. It's not a flat walk, but I don't remember any sections being particularly rocky. The trail is a teeny bit challenging on the walk up towards Key Summit, but otherwise it's pretty level as I recall.

I you plan on walking considerably more, you might want to pick up a pair of those combination sneaker/hiking shoe things. You know, the ones that look like sneakers, but have sturdy thick soles with lots of tread.

I live in my hiking shoes when I'm in NZ, but we hike just about every day. Mine aren't really boots (they don't protect my ankles) and I get along just fine.

Mine sort of look like these:
http://www.salomonsports.com/us/#/fo...ootwear/hiking
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 28th, 2009, 04:51 PM
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Incidentially, the background picture on the shoe link I posted looks a lot like some of the tracks we've walked in NZ!
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 29th, 2009, 04:48 AM
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Thanks Melnq - I think we are definitely going to get some type of hiking boots/shoes - similar to what you posted.
AngelaS is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 01:22 PM
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The Routeburn track is great, we have walked it twice. I think you will needs boots or the shoes Melnq8 recommends. Otherwise the soles of your feet will be so sore.
christraveller is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 01:01 AM
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A question for Melnq or another fodorite-

I have a logistics questions related to doing a day hike on the Routeburn trail. I have looked at many of the old threads, it looks like the consensus leans toward starting on the Divide side of the track to see the Key Summit view if an independent hiker only had one day. However, I have already booked accomodations in Queenstown so I must use use this town as my base for my 4 day stay during this region of the country. Can anyone advise how long is the drive (or bus ride if one uses Tracknet bus)from Queenstown to The Divide? I am having trouble locating the actual driving time or bus ride duration. Unfortunately I am also already booked on a Milford Sound cruise with Real Journeys that is packaged with transport to/from Queenstown (only now have I read I could have possibly combined Milford Sound Cruise with a stop at The Divide for a day hike). If the logistics is too complicated then I will consider doing the day hike from Routeburn shelter or maybe even another scenic activity all together. Thanks in advance for any guidance.
cng545 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 02:31 AM
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Hi cng545 -

It takes about two hours to reach Te Anau from QT, then it's another 85 km drive to reach the Divide, probably 1-1:15, then you have to backtrack...unlikely this is going to work for you given your bookings.

There are plenty of other nice hikes though. Where else will you be staying?
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 6th, 2011, 04:23 AM
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I too would vote for the Milford side. You can compare the scenery in the pics I took hiking the whole track in November. Unfortunately the weather wasn't as nice at Key Summit as it was when we reached the Glenorchy side.

http://picasaweb.google.com/CJNoonRo...kNovember2010#
RalphR is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 07:52 AM
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Have you tried asking Real Journeys if they have an option to drop you off at the Divide on the return? If it's an afternoon dropoff, maybe you could spend the night at the closest hut and return for a pickup in the morning?

The discussion of the unsealed road to Routeburn is overstated. A portion of the road is gravel but is in good condition and flat. I think Mel travels in winter or she is confusing it with the road to the Greenstone/Caples track which gets a bit rough south of Kinloch.

Kinloch Lodge provides track transport services and has some other info on their website.

http://www.kinlochlodge.co.nz/Gettin...2/Default.aspx
mlgb is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 08:47 AM
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Agree, I don't remember the road out from the Routeburn to Glenorchy being very bad at all. Unsealed yes, rough, no. And no stream crossings either.
RalphR is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 03:20 PM
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Yes, I travel in spring/winter/fall when the roads tend to be at their worst. We've dodged many a flooded ford back that way, but this shouldn't be in issue in season.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 6th, 2011, 07:45 PM
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Thanks you guys - I appreciate it! Yes, I am now thinking backtracking to Te Anau just might not work, and may have to save Routeburn for when I can really do the 3 day tramp. We are looking at maybe doing one of the day hikes by Mt. Aspiring - any opinions?
Currently already in New Zealand - where we have visited Kaikoura, Nelson, and Abel Tasman. Thanks to this board- all places have yielded fantastic experiences so far. Will write a longer trip report when its finished!
cng545 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 08:08 PM
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There are some nice hikes in Mt Aspiring National Park from Wanaka, will you be around there?
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Jan 6th, 2011, 08:42 PM
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Melnq8 - We will be staying in Queenstown but certainly are considering doing a day trip to Wanaka, esp now that I've started to read more about Mt. Aspiring Nat'l Park. Thanks!
Ralphr - thank you so much for your photo link. I read your earlier posts as well, and your great description of your whole Routburn experience was extremely enjoyable to read and view.
cng545 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 09:05 PM
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Just keep in mind that it's about a 90 minute drive from QT to Wanaka and the hikes aren't all that close to town.

Some to consider:

The Rob Roy Glacier
Diamond Lake/Rocky Hill Summit Circuit
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 6th, 2011, 10:14 PM
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Glenorchy side of the Routeburn may be just as easy to reach. If you do a Dart River Safari they will take you up the Dart Valley which is spectacular.

Check the track conditions on the doc website and at a doc office. Lots of warnings at present

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-rec...national-park/
mlgb is offline  

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