The Routeburn Track – day 2


Climbing away from Lake Mackenzie

All night I could hear the rain falling on the roof of the hut. The second day was going to be wet! We awoke to a steady fall, at least it was dead still with not a breeze to be felt. I could deal with this, at least it wasnt storming, and the rain was not pouring hard, it was just a constant medium fall. Sadly the second day is traditionally the day with the best views, with even the chance to see the ocean in the distance. Today there was no chance of seeing anything!

We left our hut and straight away the trail zig-zagged up and up. I actually thought it was very pleasant to do that uphill walk in the cooling rain, on a hot sunny day there would be no coverage and I’m sure I would have been cursing up that hill. lol. After climbing and climbing you get to Ocean Peak corner – where on a good day you can see the Darran Mountains, Hollyford Valley and even the Tasman Sea. As you can see on my pic, you could see nothing. Just a tarn a few metres in front. As soon as you hit Ocean Peak corner you can feel the cold wind, and the next 4.5km is a reasonably flat walk towards the Harris Saddle lunch shelter. It was during this section that the trail pretty much became a river in parts – the rain was getting a bit heavier and the flat rock of the trail held the water in. Soon the boots felt like you were holding a litre of water in each foot, and the socks were squelching with every step. I actually loved walking in the rain, it felt so clean and refreshing!


the trail was like a river


Ocean Peak Corner – minus the ocean views lol

At Harris Saddle we sat and ate lunch, then a few of us decided to take the optional walk to the highest point of the trail – Conical Hill. Even though the chances of seeing anything were rather slim, I didnt want to miss a thing on this trail, so back into the rain I went. This climb was quite tough – it was all large rock, and of course, being wet, it was very very slippery. At times it was scrambling on all fours to get up. Anyway we got to the viewpoint and there wasnt much of a view! But there were a few rare glimpses where a cloud would clear and you could see just how high up on a ledge we were. It was very freaky! Anyway downhill was um… fun. Lets just say I had two falls, one of which was very nasty on a slick rock. I landed hard on my tailbone and elbow, and for the rest of the day my elbow was throbbing. Luckily no major damage, it could have been so much worse.


enjoying the um… views. lol


going back down conical hill lookout to the harris saddle lunch shelter

From Harris Saddle the trail continues past the magnificent Lake Harris. Even in the bad weather you could see just how magnificent this scenery is. I loved how the trail clung to the side of the hill, sometimes when you looked you could see a big drop, which was scary but fun at the same time. After walking along for a while the sun was finally trying to peak out from the clouds, and the rain actually stopped enough to put the iphone away from the top pocket and grab my bigger camera out. When the sun actually hit my body I let out a yelp, it was an exciting moment!


a rainy Lake Harris


it was definitely atmospheric!


the trail is on the left, high above Lake Harris


when the sun does try and peak through it is magic!


Lake Harris with Mt Xanicus


heading down towards the routeburn falls hut


still smiling with soggy underwear!

The rest of the trail was all downhill, heading towards the Routeburn Falls Lodge. It was such a pleasant trail, the rocks were less extreme making it easier to walk on and not worry where to step. There was even boardwalked sections and lots of little bridges over the run offs from the mountains above. It was spectacular to see the clouds move by so fast, and have the sun come out a bit, making shadows and different light. I finally arrived at the lodge, and squeezed out my socks which would have supplied enough water for a cup of tea. lol. The day ended with an absolutely spectacular rainbow over the Routeburn Valley. What a way to end this wild and crazy day!


and the sun comes out towards the end of the day!


a rainbow at routeburn falls lodge – a great way to end the day!

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4 Responses to The Routeburn Track – day 2

  1. lexklein says:

    Oh, boy – it seems you had similar weather to my ill-fated Ecuadorian hikes last month! It looks like you made the very best of it (what else can we do, right?), and the scenery is pretty dazzling even in the mist and rain. I remember our time hiking near Queenstown, and it was pretty wet, too; nevertheless, I still remember the moody charm of those dark and mysterious woodsy trails, as well as the stunning lakes. Hoping Day 3 brought some more consistent sun!

    • Anna says:

      I remember seeing your Ecuador blogs a few weeks back, and thinking to myself that I know how you must have felt! But yes, what can we do when the weather is bad? Just gotta ride with it and make the most of it! I still enjoyed myself! Thanks for your visit as always x

  2. awtytravels says:

    It is uncanny how these views remind me of the Alps where I scampered when I was a kid. That lake, for instance, or the bogs and saddles. Incredible.

    • Anna says:

      It is a beautiful landscape…. I hope to get to the Alps one day and explore more too. I’ve only done a tiny bit of them. Thanks for your visit!

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