Milford and Routeburn tracks (part three)
After our well deserved rest in Te Anau we were picked up by bus on the 14th of February in blazing sunshine to begin the Routeburn track. This time we were a group of 29 people, mainly New Zealanders, Americans and Australians. Thankfully for Megan we were joined by some young people this time.
The Routeburn track crosses the mountains between the Hollyford and Dart valleys at the base of the southern Alps of NZ. The mountains are wild covered with tarns, grasslands and beautiful alpine flowers.
On the first day we walked up to Key Summit, here we are with our walking friends
The landscape has been created by glaciers see below
We stopped at Howden Hut and lake, which Tony remembered from his trip around xmas 1970/71
The remainder of the day was one damn fine view after another.
Snow capped mountains, waterfalls, ferns and mosses!
What better than to finish up a beautiful day of walking with a swim in the blue glacial lake Mackenzie which happened to lie right next to our lodgings for the night.
The weather changes fast in the mountains and the next day we awoke to drizzle which quickly turned into heavy rain, almost hail. Below a picture of Lake Mackenzie the next morning.
Not so much fun as we were walking along Hollyford Mountain face up to Harris Saddle and our lunch shelter. My phone was almost blown away taking a picture of Lake Harris and the little spontaneous waterfalls following a downpour (below).
As so often the weather improved after lunch and we were able to see the Routeburn river valley.
To my delight there were even NZ alpine edelweiss blossoming.
We finished the day just below the Routeburn waterfalls in a delightful Ultimate hike lodge, with yet another 3 course meal and a little river burbling underneath the lodge. The evening was spent playing boardgames with the youngsters and our guide who was a veterinary student from Sydney.
We awoke to this view from our bedroom window next morning
Mount Aspiring National Park is stunning and these final pictures of our walk speak for themselves.
The Routeburn valley
The Dart River valley
Above a typical NZ ginormous red Beech tree
At the end of the Track
We were picked up by a bus and taken via Glenorchy back to Queenstown.
That evening Sebastian’s friend Emma had organised for us to eat at Matakauri Lodge near Queenstown, where she had worked as a pastry chef in the past. It was wonderful to celebrate with a swanky meal at the end of our two walks.
On Saturday morning we picked up our camper-van. More of that in the next blog.