Lake Mackenzie from the Routeburn Track

Image: Crystal Brindle | DOC


The Routeburn Return is a 4-day 3-night return experience replacing the Routeburn Great Walk, which suffered storm damage.

The Routeburn Track was damaged from flooding in February 2020, however can be walked as a new experience named Routeburn Return.

It's a 4-day, 3-night hike beginning and ending at the Routeburn Shelter. This return journey starts and finishes near Glenorchy.

The Routeburn Return route may be more challenging than the usual route because of changes in elevation and one of the days is longer than a usual Great Walks experience.

For their own safety, walkers are asked to assess whether the estimated walking times and distances of this walk are still suitable for their level of experience and fitness.

The scenery is still spectacular.  Each day immerses the walker in different landscapes covering waterfall, wetlands, alpine and beach forest.

  • Day one: Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Falls Hut: 3.5 - 4.5 hrs, 9.8 km
  • Day two: Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie Hut: 4.5 - 6 hrs, 11.3 km
  • Day three: Lake Mackenzie Hut to Routeburn Flat Hut: 6 – 8 hrs, 13.6 km
  • Day four: Routeburn Flat Hut to Routeburn Shelter: 1.5 – 2 hrs, 7.5 km

The remainder of the track between Lake Mackenzie Hut and the Divide shelter is impassable and remains closed. 

People booked for the Routeburn Great Walk until 30 April 2020 will receive a full refund. Booked walkers can go online and cancel their booking and receive a full refund, or wait for our visitor centre staff to do this. Staff are working through cancellations by date order so it could take until mid-March to process cancellations.

Each night in a hut or campsite costs the same as before, but because the distances have changed we recommend people do this walk over three nights. If the previous booking was for two nights people will be paying for the additional night. We recommend a three-night walk for everyone’s safety and enjoyment.

Routeburn Return map (PDF, 19,151K)

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