Where We Be
|Routeburn Track, New Zealand
The Routeburn is our favorite tramp in New Zealand! The
wonderful thing about it is how much time you spend above
treeline in spectacular alpine country. Most New Zealand
tramps involve a long ascent through beech forest, a brief but
amazing visit to alpine country, then a long descent through
beech forest—so you end up seeing a lot of beech forest!
These mossy green forests are genuinely lovely in their own
right, but after awhile we find ourselves craving the alpine
scenery of snow-capped mountains and wide-open vistas. On
the Routeburn, you get just that. It’s the shortest of the Great
Walks at 33 km (20 mi) but perhaps the most spectacular.
At our first hut, Mackenzie Hut, the sun was shining and the
skies were blue. We and just about everyone else sat on the
green lawn leading down to Lake Mackenzie, soaking up the
sun and taking in the views. Rugged, snow-capped peaks
formed the backdrop to an emerald green gem of a lake.
Next day we were blessed with perfect weather and had a
fantastic alpine hike. The track sidled along the mountainside
above the Hollyford Valley, offering glorious views of the
craggy, snow-covered Serpentine Range. At Harris Saddle we
left our packs at the base and hiked up Conical Hill. This was a
very steep stretch—even experienced hikers were gasping
for breath—but everyone we met on the way said “It’s worth
it—keep going!” We did, and after a half hour of hard work, we
reached the top. The reward was incredible 360-degree views
of white-crowned peaks, full-to-bursting snowfields, scooped-
out glacial cirques, and the distant Tasman Sea. Just perfect!
|You just don't get days any prettier than this!
|Top of the Routeburn on a perfect day. It doesn't get much better than this!
|Evening reflection in Lake Mackenzie
|We slept in a long row of mattresses at Mackenzie Hut
|What a backdrop! No wonder Lord of the Rings was filmed here!
|Wow, that's cold! But so refreshing after a long hike!
|Just a bit of play-acting!
|Kicking back at the top of Conical Hill
|Stitched-together photo from the top of Conical Hill
|Moon, mountain, and shadow
|Barefoot in the grass at lovely Lake Mackenzie
|Early morning at Lake Mackenzie...mist and mountain reflections
|Green moss & waterfalls: part of every Fiordlands tramp
|New Zealand robins look a bit different than American ones
|Such curious birds! This fearless robin literally tried to
untie Robin's shoelace! Maybe it thought it was a worm!
|Robin's favorite day in New Zealand! She loved this lake spot (no sandflies!)