Grand Traverse – From £979.00
6 Days | Grade: Moderate | 75km / 46.6 miles
Departures November – April
Your morning coach trip from Queenstown follows Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy. Continue around the lake to the mouth of the fabled Greenstone River, you don your pack and follow the Greenstone track into the stately red beech forest. Then you return to the river, and views of Mt Christina reward you as you stroll up the final river flats to Steele Creek Lodge.
After a hearty breakfast, walk through a sea of red tussock on the river flats. Ancient pines and cottonwoods cling to the sheer mountain sides, which come alive with water on rainy days. The track allows spectacular views of the Ailsa and Livingstone Ranges as you approach Lake McKellar and the lodge.
This is your chance to explore the area on foot, row on the lake, or just relax and read a novel. There is an activity for everyone. Take a stroll to the waterfall, or hike up to the lookout for a view down the river flats and your first glimpse of the Routeburn Track. If you are ready for a challenge you can climb higher to the unchartered tops and marvel at Fiordland’s mountain scenery.
Today you cross the main divide via the Greenstone Saddle and glimpse mountains and lakes through lush forest. You meet the Routeburn Track at Lake Howden, and have the option to make the 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 back down 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 – quite a sight in wet weather! You will look over the Hollyford Valley to the ice capped Darran Mountains, before descending to the splendid lodge at Lake Mackenzie, where refreshments, a hot shower, three course meal, and a comfortable bed are waiting.
You leave the ancient forest draped in moss and lichen and enter the world of daisies, buttercups, gentians, and edelweiss. Here, 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 of luxury at the beautifully located Routeburn Falls Lodge, where you will be treated to a special dinner.
Take time to enjoy the dramatic landscape around the Falls, before descending to the alpine pastures of the Routeburn Flats. Your guides will take the scenic route through the meadows and find the deepest green pool for you to picnic beside. The track shadows the river as it roars through a magnificent gorge before plunging beneath the unyielding rocks at the Sump. 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.