Routeburn Track - Day 1
18 January 2018
After walking the Milford Track, and relaxing in the lovely Milford Sound for 3 days it was time to start walking the Routeburn Track, another of New Zealand's Great Walks. The Routeburn Track is normally done over 3 days, but I have arranged to do the walk over 4 days, as I have come all this way down to the Fiordland National Park, I wanted to spend more time here.
The night before heading out on this second walk was spent on the water in Milford Sound.
Before heading out to the Routeburn Track I was a bit nervous that our food will not arrive. I had dropped off the food at the TrackNet head office (the bus company) before starting the Milford Track – if the food did not arrive there would be no Routeburn Track. So I kept walking out to the bus terminal to see if I could find our bus, and when it arrived I hunted down our driver who was trying to have a cup of tea in the driver room which I had found. He was nice enough to go back out to his bus and open it up for me so I could get the food out.
Once I had the food I rushed back to Julianne so the packs could be packed for our second Great Walk, in less than 2 weeks. It was only a 45 minute drive from Milford Sound to the Divide - the starting point for the Routeburn Track.
It was cloudy and raining a bit when we started off, but it was only a short walk on the first day of only 90 minutes, and we didn’t start walking until 4.30pm which is very late to start a tramp – but this gave us time to do the underwater observatory in Milford Sound in the morning. The first night was at Lake Howden, a small 28 bunk hut.
The first thing I noticed on walking the Routeburn Track, that unlike the Milford Track it was very crowded as there were lots of day walkers doing the 2 hour return trip from The Divide up to Key Summit and I can say I didn’t really like it, plus we didn’t see a lot of wildlife.
There was a side track which I of course did, and as Julianne was having trouble with her ankles she appreciated the wait while I headed up to ‘Key Summit’.
It was interesting seeing the tussock like top of Key Summit, but there was not much of a view due to the rain and low cloud. There is supposed to be an amazing very from up here, but considering how good the weather has been to me for the Milford Track and Milford Sound I was not complaining.
Back down to the Julianne, and we continued the short walk of a few minutes down to Lake Howden, where I quickly changed into my togs and jumped into the Lake.
Swimming in alpine lakes is a very refreshing experience after walking with a pack – but boy are they cold, it was not a long swim I can tell you.