Hut Accomodation and Camping
Hut Bookings and Hut Passes
The Routeburn Track is a Great Walk from Late October to Late April each year. During this period the track is usually navigable in either direction, from the Routeburn Shelter or The Divide. Most properly equipped and fit people can walk the track, either independently (using Department of Conservation huts) or guided (staying in Routeburn Walk Ltd's lodges). During the Great Walk track season, the DOC huts are serviced with lighting, mattresses, gas for cooking, running cold water and flush toilets. Hut Wardens (who act as Track Rangers) are in residence in each of the huts. Outside the season, cooking facilities are removed from the Routeburn Track huts and trampers must have their own cooker. During this 'off season' daily hut pass costs are lower than during the Great Walk season.
Bookings for bed space in the huts and for campsites are ESSENTIAL during the Great Walk season. For independent tramping booking details, contact the Department of Conservation.
To avoid risk of damage to the soft peaty and slow growing alpine flora by fire, trampling and pollution, camping is not permitted within 500 metres of the Routeburn Track, except for two areas; Routeburn Flats and Lake Mackenzie, All trampers using campsites need to be completely self sufficient, with their own tents and cookers. There are sites for 15 tents beyond the Routeburn Flats Hut, and 9 sites at Lake Mackenzie. The emergency shelter on the Harris Saddle / Tarahaka Whakatipu is not serviced and overnight use is NOT allowed.
The Routeburn Roadend Shelter.
Located 26km from Glenorchy is the Routeburn Shelter (built 2008)(477m). Most hikers start the track from this end. During the summer months the carpark can quickly become full. Several large information boards have interesting information on the track as well as local birdlife, geology, history and other short walks. The area surrounding the carpark is also a great place for birdwatching. No need to walk the track. Just look around the carpark and bush edge. Soon you will see the friendly South Island Robin. New Zealands smallest bird the Rifleman are also plentiful. Mohua/Yellowhead and Kea can sometimes also be seen here.
Routeburn Flats Hut.
Routeburn Flats Hut.(700m)(20 Bunks)
The original Flats hut was built in this location in the early 1900’s. The existing hut was built in the early 1970’s. Since then it has had several renovations and additions added to it. Most recently the large open picnic shelter extension built in winter 2012. The hut is set on the bush edge with an excellent view across the Routeburn and flats looking towards the north Branch. The Flats hut is a popular destination for day walkers and families. The open flats offer a great place for the kids to set loose. The routeburn here offers a safe place to cool off during the heat of summer or a refreshing wash after a days hiking.
Routeburn Flats Campsite.
Routeburn Flats Campsite (700m)
15 non powered campsites. Great views of the Route Burn Valley and Mt Somnus (2293m). Being North Facing and open gets all day sun. With the routeburn running just next to the campsite offers a cool place to dip the feet or more. This campsite will also have the least amount of sandflies at any campsite in the region. Due to the short walk in from Glenorchy is also very popular with local school groups, and families to take the kids out for their first tramp.
Routeburn Falls Hut.
Routeburn Falls Hut.(1000m)(48 Bunks)
Built in 1996. Located at the upper bushline and in close proximity to the Routeburn Falls is this hut built on stilts. The open plan kitchen dining area is the place to meet and greet your fellow hikers. Falls hut is usually full from mid December to mid April. So expect a bit of noise and the odd snorer or two. There are two bunkrooms each with 24 bunks. So if you are sleeping next to a window, open it up and let some fresh air in.
Harris Saddle Shelter.
Harris Saddle Shelter (1255m)
Depending on the weather will depend whether you have lunch inside protected against the freezing conditions. Or if it’s sunny you’ll be outside enjoying the warmth of the sun. Harris Saddle is the boundary between Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks. There are amazing views of the Darran mountains. For those who want even better views, then from here is the side track up Conical Hill.
Lake McKenzie Hut.
Lake McKenzie Hut (900m)(50 Bunks)
Built in the 1990’s this comfortable hut is set next to Lake McKenzie and is without a doubt one of the most photogenic. Making it also the busiest of the huts. The Lake of course is a very large swimming pool for the brave. Being an alpine lake keeps temperature under 10˚C (50˚F) for most of the time. The main building contains the kitchen and dining area. Upstairs sleeps 25 in bunks and on a sleeping platform. A separate bunkhouse sleeps another 25 on sleeping platforms.
Lake McKenzie Campsite.
Lake McKenzie Campsite(900m)
9 non powered campsites. 15mins past McKenzie hut is this secluded and peaceful campsite. Set amongst the ferns these purpose built sites offer privacy from the crowds at the hut. Nearby is your own access to Lake Mckenzie. Tempting as it might be do not camp by lake front as this can get under water very quickly.
Lake Howden Hut.
Lake Howden Hut (700m)(28 Bunks)
Built in the 1970’s This hut has character. Split level with Bunks upstairs and kitchen/dining downstairs. Located at Lake Howden outlet with Pass creek in front of the hut. This is the junction of Greenstone and Routeburn tracks. So make sure you read the signs and take the track you want when you leave (many hikers have just walked down the wrong track in their hurry to get moving). Due to being close to the Milford road and with Key summit nearby, this makes an excellent spot for a day walk.
The Divide Shelter.
Divide Shelter (532m)
Located on State Highway 94, 85km from Te Anau and 36km from Milford sound. This is one start/finish point for the track. During the peak of summer the carpark can be full by late morning. From here either turn right to go on to the Hollyford Valley or Milford Sound. Otherwise turn left to go to Te Anau.