Planning to complete the Routeburn track in New Zealand? Want some information about access, accommodation, weather, clothing and equipment, fitness and preparation. This article is a part review of the 40 page Routeburn Track Guide by Philip Temple, published by Whitcoulls in 1976, which has become a NZ tramping classic and still contains valuable information.
Ranger Stations and Access
Located at Glenorchy and Te Anau. Check in /out required
Can be walked from either end. Eastern access is from Queenstown to Glenorchy.
Western access from Te Anau to The Divide on the road to Milford Sound
- Off Track: Queenstown, Te Anau, Glenorchy, Eglinton Valley (on Te Anau-Milford Hwy)
- On Track: Commercial Lodges at Routeburn Falls and Lake Mackenzie but can only be accessed as part of a Guided Walk.
Weather and Season
“Prevailing winds are NW and SW; heavy rainfall is common and snow may fall down to 1000m at any time of the year. The Hollyford Face between Harris Saddle and Lake Mackenzie is particularly exposed to wind and precipitation and the Saddle is normally snow bound during the winter and early spring. The usual season for track walking is late November to mid-April. The saddle crossing should not be undertaken at any time except under favourable weather conditions.“
Clothing and Equipment
Temple warns that the weather is very variable with trampers needing to carry both warm weather and cold weather/snow gear. He gives the normal warnings about the need for a waterproof parka, well broken in boots, first aid kit compass and map.
Fitness and Preparation
The author gives some excellent advice on the need to be fit and have well broken in boots so that “you will have more time and opportunity to appreciate the scenery and natural features that you have made so much effort to reach!” His wise counsel that “there’s only one way to get fit for tramping- and that’s tramping” is very sound.
Approach to Walking
I like his hints on how to walk. “Don’t rush and don’t loiter….. And rests should not be too long, otherwise you may stiffen up and lose your rhythm…..Start out early each day, so you always have time on hand. … Remember the golden rule – the pace of the party is that of the slowest member.“
Part 3 in this series will discuss the actual route notes provide by Temple.
This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.