Day 134 on the Road
The Routeburn Track
Today we are not just doing the Routeburn Track but we’re doing a guided walk of the Routeburn Track! If you like this video and wanna see more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then head on over to our YouTube channel and join the backpacker squad!
So today is 134 and our first full day in Queenstown and the first thing we’re doing is getting the hell out of Queenstown straight away cos we’re going to the Fiordland National Park to do the Routeburn Track. Today we are showing you guys the best bits of the Routeburn Track.
This morning we are having breakfast at Nomads Queenstown this is going to be our base for our time here in the adventure capital of New Zealand and we’ve picked Nomads Queenstown because it’s located right in the city centre which is making it super easy for us to go to all the awesome activities that we have planned and on top of it it’s the only purposely built hostel in the area making it perfect for any backpackers.
And this is where we get picked up right in front of the door by the team from Guided Walks New Zealand which are gonna be taking us to explore the Routeburn Track today this is one of the jewels of New Zealand and part of the 9 Great Walks that the country features.
We are meeting our guides today, Huw and ML who are taking us down the glorious Glenorchy Road between Queenstown and Glenorchy which has been formed by glaciers over the years.
They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard. The road pass through really famous Lord of the Rings locations and the drive itself takes us from Queenstown to the beginning of the Routeburn Track in only about an hour and a half. Usually the Routeburn Track is a multi-day hike but because we challenge to ourselves to do 365 activities in only 365 Days we’re doing only a one day section of it.
Right out of the gate Huw is showcasing the incredible amount of knowledge that he has about the area. And one of his tracks to attract wildlife is amazing. He’s using a little piece of foam and rubbing it against his watch which mimics perfectly the noise of the fantail and really often attracts them because they’re curious of one another but since the fantails are a little bit shy today Huw is taking the time to show us a lot of stuff about all the plants in the area. There is not just the fantail birds around there’s also heaps of other types of bird and we actually get to meet one of the local residents. And right in front of us we see the South Island Robin which is really keen to check us out as well it’s really incredible how New Zealand birds are just really not afraid of humans which gives us an epic chance to see them close up.
The bird is super inquisitive and even comes right up to our feet. But this is not the only bird we are on the look out for today ML is super keen to find a fantail today so she can tell us the Maori legend surrounding it.
We have done a lot of amazing forest walks in New Zealand before just by ourselves but walking with a guide is really making us appreciate the environment around us. Usually we just walk blindly through the forest not knowing what the different plants are and what they’re uses are for them but now are learning so much that we’re going to keep with us for the rest of this trip every time we’re walking in a forest in New Zealand.
For instance Huw is showing us plants that the Maori used to use to make rope because they’re that strong as well as showing us some really strange plants that apparently is you rub them they smell like farts alos so we see hound’s tongue which is actually names because it does look like a hound’s tongue. The track is taking us all along the Routeburn river we sometimes get some higher parts where we get a really cool view of the river below and sometimes we’re getting really low to the ground where we almost get to do some river crossings it’s really cool. There is obviously quite a few swing bridge along the way as well as any New Zealand walk should feature at least three swing bridges it seems to be the kind of rule here in New Zealand.
The walk through is 130 million years old forest is absolutely astonishing aside form the path we are walking on a few swing bridges there is absolutely no sign of civilisation it really feels like we are walking back through time. this forest is absolutely untouched.
But Huw and ML and capable of finding constant reminders of the human impact on our environment and they find us a lot of signs of rats and possums which are now pests in the area and are endangering the local birds. And it’s after about a 2 hour walk that we are finally reaching our halfway point where we’re gonna be stopping for lunch. So we are sitting in front of an incredible million dollar view eating our $5 lunch. Well I’m such it wasn’t exactly $5 it is a very good sandwich lunch of brie chicken cranberry and cookies included with this tour and we’re sitting in Huw’s secret spot for our lunch.
In front of us we have these uninterrupted views of this gorgeous river valley with tussock plains in the distance there’s towering forested mountains peaked with snow. It’s really hard to get us away from these views to make our way back along the Routeburn Track. But we do get there eventually.
We can really tell why this area of New Zealand has been given UNESCO World protection this means that this area is even more protected than a normal national park. The Mt Aspiring [National Park] and the Fiordland National Park which are both coming together in this area are forming one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life. The towering mountains give this absolutely epic scale to the area and the thick rainforest put it back into perspective with a lot of teenie tiny details around the walk it’s absolutely mesmerising.
As mentioned previously the Routeburn Track is part of the New Zealand Great Walks. It is a 32km walk that usually takes people 2 to 4 days to tackle.
Along the way Huw and ML are showing us some of the interesting geological features that have been left from the glaciers that once carved this area long ago. But we do start to get sidetracked somewhat by the native wildlife.
Huw has spotted for us a few riflemen which are these tiny little native birds that look like little ping pong balls bouncing around in the trees they are so cute.
The Riflemen are a bit more elusive than regular New Zealand birds though so they do fly themselves away once they see us and then we get back on our own way crossing some awesome swing bridges making our way through this dense forest and then we meet another bird.
We’ve just spotted another South Island Robin that’s come to say hello it’s bouncing about on the floor but this does mean unfortunately that we haven’t seen any fantails nevertheless, ML does tell us the legend of the fantail which is really cool I really enjoy listening to the Maori legends.
But before long we get sidetracked again we are crossing the Routeburn River and we’re gong to be standing on top of one of the biggest rock that we can find it is probably the best picture opportunity we’re gonna be getting today because we’re gonna be standing right in the middle of the Routeburn River Valley. How epic is that?
But the side track didn’t take too long we are making our way back in now time toward the official track which is very well signposted.
What would we do for a good instagram post, eh?
As we’re speeding up on the way to the end of the track it’s actually really impressive that ML and Huw still have so much to tell us despite us coming on the same route on the way here. For instance ML is now telling us about the old Maori greenstone trails that used to pass through this area. When the Maori were searching for greenstone they used this track here as a passage between greenstone areas on the West Coast and then towards the middle of the South Island. ML spots one of the unusual plants of the area, it’s the hound’s tongue plant which basically looks and feels like a hound’s tongue and this leads us to the end of the track as we’re crossing the swing bridge that we actually used to enter the track we are leaving the Fiordland National Park with stores and pictures all in our heads. We really enjoyed our time there and it’s really such a paradise looking place that we can’t wait to visit again soon.
Gathering us lunch right now. They found a plant which is questionable and they said the Frenchy is going to eat it so that’s probably our last video.