when you start researching a trip to new zealand, you almost immediately get lost trying to decide which of the “nine great walks“ you can do. new zealand’s unique beauty and intent to preserve it while letting you closely experience it – keeps this country atop most outdoor enthusiasts’ list. after a good amount of research (getting lost) we decided on prioritizing routeburn track. milford is even more famous and looks awesome, but we couldn’t line up the dates – worth noting that in peak season (dec – march) planning ahead is imperative. we had this hike booked 7 months before we did it.
at 21 miles with 2,800 feet elevation gain, typically done over 3 days/2 nights, routeburn is very approachable if you are in backpacking shape and offers a good variety of terrain & trail environments. we trekked through lush forest, came across snow melt streams & waterfalls, ending our last night swimming in a pristine, refreshing lake.
the huts themselves are clean, equipped and make you feel very comfortable after a long day on your feet. bagged wine in new zealand is somewhat of delicacy and a highly recommend evening treat. weather is pretty fickle here but we were lucky enough to get 3 sunny days and crisp beautiful nights. another hiking must have was backpacker’s pantry – surprisingly delicious dinners and all you need is boiling water!
remember to hydrate and cover your skin!