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Hiking the Routeburn

Hard to believe we have been home from our big hiking trip for 2 weeks and I have only just found the space to sit and write about it!

My husband turned 50 earlier this year and as part of his “year of 50” he wanted to walk one on the New Zealand Great Walks. We decided to link up the Routeburn and the Greenstone tracks to make the most of our adventure. This meant we had a 4 night/5 day hike – or tramp – as they say around here …

My Dad flew across from Australia to look after our three daughters for the week which was amazing. My husband and I have never had more than 1 night away together at a time, so a whole week was really quite something in our world!

My husband and I love to hike but this was the first multi-day hike we had done together since becoming parents … over 10 years ago.


I loved that half our trip was on “Great Walk” tracks and the other half just on “normal” tracks as they were really different experiences.
The Routeburn track is amazingly well maintained and clearly marked. These are busy tracks so a huge amount of work must go into their upkeep.

Stunning mountain views on the Routeburn

The Greenstone is good old fashioned hiking. No fancy trackwork. Plenty of muddy bogs to get dirty crossing, creeks to rock hop on, and tree roots to trip over. Tracks are marked by poles with orange tips which are not always easy to spot. My favourite kind of hiking! None of it is overly technical though so suitable for average hikers willing to get dirty.

The end of the Greenstone Valley


The scenery was stunning. The Routeburn had the grand and spectacular views – snow topped mountains, lakes and waterfalls. The Greenstone had beautiful mossy forests, river valleys and a beautiful river.
I loved that every day brought something different and in fact each hour brought something new.

Peace and quiet – how long has it been since I have had hours of true peace and quiet? I really can’t say. My husband and I walk at very different paces so we actually spend several hours every day apart from each other on the track. This means I had hours of quiet and solitude to simply enjoy my hiking, my thoughts, and the quiet.

The adventure – I love adventures! One thing I miss in motherhood is the sense of real adventure so I really enjoyed doing something that was 100% about my husband and I.

Dramatic views on the Routeburn


Meeting a girl (21 years) and her Dad – she had fallen and broken her ankle and we were the first walkers to come by. On one hand I was really grateful that we had good first aid knowledge and were well equipped to help them. On the other hand I found it a little stressful to find myself responsible for the well being of a total stranger. She needed to be taken to hospital by helicopter.

Sandflies! Nasty critters that manage to hunt you down no matter how much repellent you put on. These were mostly an issue for me on the Greenstone track.

Snorers! The downside in staying in the huts … you have no idea who you will be sharing with. I scored a mega snorer in my hut for the first 2 nights. I had earplugs but that didn’t help.

Early morning light on the Roueburn


The kids coped really well, overall, with us being away. I think the fact they knew we couldn’t be contacted in the mountains helped.
As soon as we got back to Queesntown I started receiving sneaky calls from my 7 year old early each morning. She knows how to call from our landline and would sneak off to my bedroom to call without my Dad knowing.
I would like to think that perhaps this is the start of a few more adventures for my husband and I. I know it won’t happen often but I don’t want to wait another 10 years!


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