Day Hike the Routeburn North Branch

Rate this Adventure  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Maggie Evans

If you don't have time to hike the entire Routeburn Track or if you failed to book it in time but are still keen to see what it's about, then explore the less used track up the pristine Routeburn North Branch as a day trip from Queenstown. And if time permits, head a bit further towards Routeburn Falls Hut for the iconic valley view.

To access the Routeburn North Branch, you start out from the Routeburn Shelter and head along the Routeburn Track towards Routeburn Flats Hut (6.5km). At the hut, cross the wide but shallow North Branch to pick up the poled route on the other side that leads through the last of the Routeburn flats. The track then enters forest and climbs upwards before emerging in the open space of an old slip. You come to a small tarn and then the track wanders onto a long grassy plain that slopes gently to the river on the right. Cairns mark the way from there and it starts to feel like more of a scramble. Eventually the valley floor turns into a mound of boulders and you're left standing with a view of Mount Somnus.

If you have time on your way out, rather than heading back to the carpark from Routeburn Flats Hut, continue along the track towards Routeburn Falls Hut (about 1.5-2km further) until you get the impressive view of the Routeburn Flats that is arguably one of the prettiest views seen along the Routeburn Great Walk.

Read More


Picnic Area


Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Nearby Adventures

  • Day Hike the Routeburn Track

    New Zealand's incredible Routeburn Track is popular for a reason, and to this day it is still one of the most beautiful hikes I've done. Usually backpacked in 3-4 days, this 20 mile hike is possible to do in one!  During Great Walks season (Octobe...

    20.5 miles 4100 ft gain

  • Day Hike to Harris Saddle (Routeburn Track)

    The Routeburn Track is world famous, and with good reason. But the because it is a through hike that requires multiple hut reservations and an expensive car-shuttle or two day bus ride to complete, many people feel overwhelmed or underprepared. Th...

    14.3 miles 2460.6 ft gain

  • Backpack the Routeburn Track

    If you're looking for the best the Routeburn Track has to offer but only have one night to spend - hike from the Glenorchy side Routeburn Shelter to Lake Mackenzie in 12.5 miles (approx. 3,500 feet of elevation gain) and stay at this stunning hut ...

    12.5 miles

  • Backpack the Magical Earnslaw Burn

    Once you identify the parking area (Right turn off Glenorchy Paradise Road just before crossing the Earnslaw Burn, park a the bend in the road.) Cross the boggy meadow in a NW direction until you see the orange trail markers on trees.The trail bel...

    8.7 miles 1968.5 ft gain