Routeburn Track

First I would like to state our horror at the terrorist murders that took place on Friday. New Zealand is a peaceful country and there is no place for such abhorrent behavior anywhere in the world. Judy and my thoughts and prayers are with those families affected.

Thursday the 14th of March we left the freedom camping area at the south end of Lake Wakatipu and traveled to Queenstown. We had been thinking of going up to Glenorchy at the other end of the large lake when we got a phone call from one of our email followers suggesting that we do so that made up our minds.

From Queenstown to Glenorchy the road twists and turns and travels up and down. The Colorado took it all in its stride. We were unsure where we were going to stay the night so explored all likely spots on the way. In the end we stayed behind the hotel in Glenorchy, a POP, so it was a free night, though we did have a coffee etc in the hotel.

In the morning we moved the caravan into the camping ground and parted with $40-00, filled a rucksack with rain coats, warm clothes, cool clothes, water, food and biscuits. It was reasonably heavy but nothing a big strong boy like me couldn’t handle. And we headed  out to the start of the Routeburn Track with the idea that we would walk up to the Routeburn Flats Hut, the first hut on the walk. Distance 6.5 km and elevation from the start about 500 metres. Estimated time between 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Should be a doddle.

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Judy and I all bushy tailed on the bridge at the start of the track.

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Judy on one of the bridges along the way.

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The Bridal Veil Falls about 1/3 of the way to the hut.

The track is extremely well formed and maintained and proceeds through virgin NZ bush. Trees mainly beech. South Island Robins abound. They were at the start and popping up all along the track, coming.right up to a foot away from our feet.

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Also prominent were tomtits and a couple of riflemans that came down onto the track in front of us and flitted about for several minutes. Keas and bellbirds could be heard in the trees around us. It was just lovely. A credit to the staff that maintain the predator traps along the track.

It took just over 2 hours to arrive at the hut. A welcome sight especially as that rucksack was feeling rather heavy. In fact the idea did occur to me that a helicopter ride back to the start would be most welcome. We had stopped on the way and eaten our lunch, so we ripped into the biscuits and washed them down with a good slosh of water. Several noisy teenagers arrived with a couple of adults. They were staying the night in the 20 bed hut and pushing on the next morning for the next hut. The ranger made them welcome.

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The Routeburn Flats Hut. a sign on the door states. Please keep door closed to keep the keas out. Rangers accomodation the building on right.

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First view of the welcome sight. The hut.

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One of the views from the hut.

But it was time for us to return to the start so off we went with me in the lead. As we progressed Judy took over the lead and I kept up a steady plod behind. About 1/2 way back Judy took over the rucksack and I was very pleased to get it off my back. When we were about 10 minutes from the start a few drops of rain began to fall and gradually become heavier. As we were driving back to the caravan we had to have the wipers on intermittant. The rain kept up and became heavy during the night.

Saturday it was a drive to Arrowtown with a stop on the way to top up the larder. Seems to be a thing we have to do several times a week.

During the walk we took out of the rucksack all the food and some of the water. Everything else stayed in there. My advise to you dear reader is if you intend to take a long trek into the bush, decide with great care what you carry and the weight of those items, keeping in mind that the weather can change very rapidly.

Judy and I have discussed coming here again some day and doing this track or one of the other great tracks. We are extremely lucky to live in such a wonderful country. How we can do what we did at no cost to us is truely amazing.

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