The Classic Itinerary

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Pre Track Briefing

This is held on the day prior to your walk departure date in the Ultimate Hikes Centre in Queenstown at 4.45pm. The briefing will explain the next few days of your walk, run through the packing checklist and show you the equipment you can borrow. 

Day 1 - Queenstown/Te Anau to Glade House

1.6km (1 mile)
Level of difficulty: Easy
Track Terrain:  Nature walk - Some rocky sections and uneven ground.

You begin your adventure back at the Ultimate Hikes Centre to meet the group, your guides and bus driver. The bus travels around Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, with a brief stop in Mossburn. Lunch is at the Hollyford Café in Te Anau before you resume your bus journey to Te Anau Downs. From there it is a one hour boat ride up Lake Te Anau to Glade Wharf and the start of the Milford Track. Walking 1.6km up the track you emerge into the Glade where our lodge sits beside the Clinton River. After refreshments you can take a short nature walk up the Glade Burn to familiarise yourself with the terrain before settling into the lodge for drinks snacks, and dinner followed by a short briefing on the day ahead.  Lights out is at 10pm.

Day 2 - Glade House to Pompolona Lodge

16 km (10 miles)
Level of difficulty:
Moderate
Track Terrain: Mostly flat graded track with some uneven and rocky sections with a short incline at the end.

Today, after breakfast and packing your lunch, you will cross the Clinton River swingbridge and follow the river along a graded track. Beech forest covers this section until you get to the Prairie –a wide open space with tall grass and Manuka bush. Take a side track to prairie lake for a dip before heading up towards Pompolona Lodge to be welcomed by your lodge host with a cold drink. Relax with a hot shower, rinse out your hiking gear and enjoy a pre-dinner drink before dinner. A briefing on the next day follows before lights out.

Day 3 – Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge

15Km (9 miles)
Level of difficulty: Challenging
Track Terrain:  Steep uphill following zig zags to Pass Hut on rocky uneven track.  Steep downhill (including steps) to Quintin lodge
Sutherland Falls - This is about an hour round trip.  It is steep in parts with some large steps, but well worth the trip!

This is the most challenging day, especially in inclement weather, so take your time and walk at your own pace. The track leads up to the head of the Clinton Valley, before climbing the Mackinnon Pass in a series of zig-zags.  At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular panorama views and a rest at the Mackinnon Memorial.  Walk on to the highest point and stop for lunch with hot drinks in Pass Hut. The descent into the Arthur Valley to Quintin Lodge is steep and rocky so again take your time. Once there, drop your bags, and have a snack because you can't miss taking the optional 90 minute round trip to the Sutherland Falls, the world's fifth highest waterfall.

Day 4 - Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge

21km (13.5 miles)
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Track Terrain:  Mainly flat well-graded track, however it is uneven ground with some rocky sections.

The track is well graded but it has some uneven and rocky patches. It’s the day of more waterfalls though, even if it’s not raining!  Mackay Falls is first followed by Giants Gate where you stop for lunch. From here it’s a wide track to Sandfly Point and the boat across to Milford Sound and Mitre Peak Lodge. Enjoy the views of Mitre Peak and join your friends in the bar for a well-earned celebration.

Day 5 Milford Sound - Te Anau

No walking

By now the morning schedule will be routine – only this time you’ll have your belongings labelled to go in the bus, and returned borrowed gear. The bus will drop you at the wharf to board the Cruise on the famous Milford Sound. Enjoy waterfalls and wildlife and glimpse the Tasman Sea before returning to dry land and hopping back on the bus for the ride back to Te Anau.

In Te Anau, you will be directed to your accommodation for the night.  The rest of your day and night is free to explore or relax ready for the next section of your hike - The Routeburn Track.

Please note: Dinner & breakfast the following morning are not included in the package.

Day 6 - Te Anau to Mackenzie Lodge

12km (7.5 miles)
Level of difficulty: 
Moderate.  
Track Terrain: The track is reasonably smooth, with some steep rocky sections.

Your adventure begins again with a coach ride from Te Anau, after morning tea, to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road You will climb the wide and well formed track from the Divide to the optional ascent to Key Summit. Here you can sit among the alpine plants and gaze down three valleys from which water flows to three different coasts.

You then descend to Lake Howden hut for a hot drink and picnic lunch, before gradually climbing through lush silver beech forest to the base of Earland Falls.  from there the descent into Mackenzie lodge is steep and rocky, and refreshments, a hot shower, three course meal and comfortable beds are waiting.

Day 7 - Mackenzie Lodge to Routeburn Falls

11 km (6.9 miles) 
Level of difficulty:
Moderate 
Track Terrain:
Uneven and steep in places, with a series of zig zags, then mostly flat, before heading downhill with some boardwalks and steps


You leave the ancient forest draped in moss and lichen and enter the world of daisies, buttercups, gentians and edelweiss. At Ocean Peak Corner, you have a full vista of the Darran Mountains across the Hollyford Valley, which slices through Fiordland to the distant Tasman Sea at Martin's Bay. After lunch at the Harris Saddle, you can ascend Conical Hill for a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks. After walking around Lake Harris you descend into the upper basins of the Routeburn Valley, with the towering mountains above. Spend your final night at the beautifully located Routeburn Falls Lodge.

Day 8 - Routeburn Falls to Queenstown

9Km (5.7 miles)
Level of difficulty:
Easy.
Track Terrain:
Mostly wide and smooth with some rocky patches.

Take time to enjoy the dramatic landscape around the Falls, before descending to the alpine pastures of the Routeburn Flats. The track shadows the river as it roars through a magnificent gorge. Gorge Flat is a great place to stop for lunch.  From here it is a gentle walk through the beech forest to the Road End. A coach will take you back to Queenstown, stopping at the small town of Glenorchy on the way