We did a couple of hikes on each end of the Routeburn Track. Hiking the complete Routeburn Track would a few days with stays overnight in huts or private lodges along the track (trail) – hikers on guided tours have access to the better facilities.
One end of the Routeburn Track is near Glenorchy. The drive to Glenorchy from Queenstown is spectacular. We hiked through the rain forest till we reached Routeburn Flats, a peaceful alpine pasture surrounded by mountains.
The other end of the Routeburn Track is the Key Summit, its on the road to Milford Sound from Te Anau. The summit has panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, unfortunately for us the day was socked in and wet.
While hiking in New Zealand, you won’t encounter wild animals or snakes. The only native mammal are bats. This enabled flightless birds to thrive without any predators with teeth. However, man brought over rabbits and then rats to combat the rabbits. Along the tracks, you’ll see traps at regular intervals. This provides the flightless birds with a protective zone from these new predators. Hiking in New Zealand frees you from worrying about encountering a bear but you won’t have the excitement of seeing a wild animal.