The Routeburn Track – Day 3

Like I said in my post from Day 2, it rained all night so we knew we were in for a soggy hike on day 3. Luckily this was the shortest day in terms of distance. Also luckily we were under trees for the whole way. People going the opposite way as us were out in the open with no cover. The ranger said the trail going that way usually turns into a river on days like this one.

P1030817Yea, when I say it was raining I don’t mean a light drizzle. It wasn’t quite Forest Gump in Vietnam rain, but it was close.

P1030814Big ups to North Face, Mountain Hard Wear and Osprey for keeping me and my gear dry on this hike. Good gear makes all the difference on days like this.

P1030822There were a lot of these swinging bridges on our hike. I would conservatively estimate that I pretended to be Indiana Jones on 2/3 of them. I felt that I had to.


Are you tired of waterfalls yet?



More bridges! There was a maximum occupancy warning on some of them. On one of the bridges we had 2 more people than the maximum occupancy warning said to, but I didn’t see the warning until after we crossed the bridge. Whoops.


Some soaked hikers finishing the walk.


Gross. How did that get in there? LOOK AWAY! We’re both holding our breath in this picture to avoid smelling the other.¹


After a very soggy 3 hours, we finished the walk just outside of Glenorchy which is a 45-minute drive from Queenstown. Luckily, Sarah had a friend doing the walk the same time as us so we just parked at opposite ends and switched cars at the end.

After getting back to civilization (if you want to call Queenstown civilization) we made the necessary stop at Fergburger where I promptly gained back all the weight that I lost during the trek.

After doing Routeburn I desperately want to do another great walk. Luckily we’re leaving on January 9th to do the Copland Track. I’m very excited to do it and share it with all of you.



1 – As stated in Day 1’s post… I smelled lovely at this point.

We only had Gordon’s camera out on that day, and even then we limited our pictures, so I don’t have anything to contribute in that sense. 

Most people would assume that because it was the wettest, it was the least awesome day, but I have to disagree. Day three was actually my favorite in a lot of ways – our packs were lighter, the temperature was nice despite the rain, we saw some of the coolest views and because we wanted to get out of the rain our crew kept a nice pace.

But in summary… Routeburn was absolutely awesome and a perfect way to celebrate the holidays!


4 thoughts on “The Routeburn Track – Day 3

  1. Great descriptions and pics, Gordon. Tell us a bit more about the hike in terms of technical details. How far each day? How much elevation change? Actual temps. Stuff like that…. Wondering if my soccer-damaged knees could handle your treks. 🙂


    • We were on the trail for 6.5, 6.5 and 3 hours over the 3 days. There’s no telling how much of that was actually spent walking. In terms of distance we did 12, 11.3 and 8.8km over the three days. That doesn’t include the side treks we did which probably added another 5km or so. We started the walk at around 550m above sea level and the highest point was 1255m. Although we added a summit of conical hill which was 1515m. We didn’t go up and down during the trek. The second day was just a gradual climb and it was all downhill after that.

      The temperature varies greatly day-to-day. On the second day when we were at the highest elevation it was pretty cold and windy. With the wind chill I would guess it was around 40 Fahrenheit. The first day was sunny and probably 70 farenheit. There were some pretty steep step-ups at times and other times where you are walking in a waterbed that can flood if there’s a decent amount of rain.

      I’m sure you could handle it, Mike. Although it all depends on how much whiskey and wine you have weighing your pack down.

      • I’ll pack smart – in other words, I’ll opt for whiskey over wine! Seriously, I did this kind of hiking many times over in my teens, including a 10-day trek in the Rockies. But that was before the knee thing, the age thing, and many other things came along to possibly make a trek like this a bad idea for me. The reality, however, is that the brain thing still thinks it’s a teenager and, given an opportunity like this, would override all those other things with a quick “What the hell – you only live once!”

        By the way, if you’re going to talk distances in km and altitudes in m, you might as well talk temps in C. I’m fluent in those languages, as we all should be.

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