Routeburn Track – Day 1

Date: Sat. 13th December, 2008
Route: Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Flats Hut
Distance: 6.5km
Time: 3hrs (1.5-2.5hrs suggested time)
Pack: 22kg (because for the first two days we actually carried 4l of water)
Weather: Clear skies
Party: Bill, Cassie


2.30pm @ Routeburn Shelter

Packs are on and almost immediatley regretting the weight. I have to keep reminding myself that I have carried this much before and that I did indeed survive.

The scenery is beautiful and we are taking plenty of photos, but truthfully I am too uncomfortable to notice anything and the photo taking is just an excuse to stop.


We are one third of the way through the days walk and stopped after a bridge (many photos of this one). The water is so clear! We hopped the bridge fence and went to the waters edge – as expected it was very icy.


We are at the half-way point – I am trudging along in a great deal of pain with an anticipated two more hours to go – I need something to take my mind off my aching back and bruised shoulders – so I think about …

The scenery is changing alot more ferny foliage – we take a break by the river and are greeted by the sandflies. We had been warned and am now wishing the spray was on top of my pack. They disappear as soon as we start walking again.

The valley has opened up in a big flat river area. We are headed for Routeburn Flats Hut so I expect we are rather close.

5.30pm @ Routeburn Flats Hut (660m alt.)

Nice little hut I am impressed – Time for a cup of tea – just as soon as we muster the energy!


Okay now I am starting to get the picture (and will take more photos!!). Sitting with Bill at a wooden picnic table. A cup of tea in hand, and not another person around. I can hear a bird and the running of a stream in front of me. I can hear the sound of a waterfall in the distance. I am surrounded by mountains. To my left I see a waterfall running down a nearby peak. Further in the distance snow caps a mountain. Only a hundred metres away an unscalable giant begs discussion and behind me a long mountain displays a naked ridge where the winter snow would be.

I am speechless, I have never experienced such beauty, such serenity.


I am finally getting some sleep for the first time in about 38 hours. Bill is reading and eating lollies – It is daylight outside, like about 4pm in the afternoon.


8.30am @ Queenstown

Arrived in Queenstown around 8:30 we had a bus to catch at 1pm so we spent the time checking out Queenstown, buying some food we defiantly couldn’t bring in the country, buy a new stove, as we were not allowed to bring our stove on the place. We also had a nicer breakfast as it will be porridge for the next 9 days. We also picked up a nice print at the markets which we had sent home.


We caught the bus at 1pm, which it turned out to be there just for us because of the time we had ask for.

2.30pm @ Routeburn Shelter

Got to the start of the track the Routeburn shelter at about 2:30 got water enough for today’s tramp and headed off. All the way along we stopped to take photos as there was just so much we’re not use to seeing, plus we just had to take pictures of us tramping across the bridges. The going was hard, my pack was heavy, my thighs were starting to hurt so were my shoulders. I don’t know how we are going to make it the rest of the way as this is the easiest part.

5.30pm @ Routeburn Flats Hut

Routeburn Flats Hut couldn’t have arrived sooner – I was stuffed. The hut is the first on the Routeburn track, and is where we are spending our first night. The hut can house 20 people split up into 2 dorms of 10, but there we only had to share wiith an Israeli family and an American guy who we haven’t met yet. The hut has a kitchen with gas stove and a dining hall with a wood stove. I decide I would cook the dinners and Cass can cook the breakfasts, so we had chicken curry pasta with some real chicken that we brought in Queenstown today. I made heaps which I had no problem wolfing down, as well as most of my lolly provision.


Bill walking across one of the first bridges we encountered. The bridges are very well maintained, and are loads of fun. The volume and quality of the water is such a refreshing change from our home (at the time of writing this we were on severe water restrictions in Toowoomba, 3minute showers etc).