Another amazing sleep, didn’t even notice our bunk mates coming to bed.
Boxing day is another stunner weather-wise. The view from the deck of the hut, down towards Routeburn Flats is a wonder to behold and it stops me in my tracks each time I go outside.
More hot coffee and tiny mince pies before breakfast. A bit of chatting to our fellow travellers, pack our bags and we are on to the final day of walking. Our track transport is due to collect us from the Routeburn Shelter at 1pm and, leaving around 8am gives us loads of time to get there with a few stops along the way.
We’re back down below the treeline in the beech forest now and I again make a zillion photos of the trees (in case you hadn’t already noticed, I have a lifelong love affair with trees) but I promise not to post them all here!
We stop at the Routeburn Flats hut for a quick drink of water and a chat to the ranger. The sandflies here are vicious so we don’t stop long.
From the flats down to the shelter is by far the busiest part of our walk. It’s a relatively easy walk (we did it ourselves a couple of years ago) and there’s a heap of day trippers headed in the opposite direction to us. The rivers on this side are boulder-filled with incredibly clear and beautifully green water and the crossings here are more swing bridges and less metal ones. I like these better, not just because I think them lovelier to photograph, they remind me of my childhood and I find them much more fun to cross!
I wonder how long that guy has been sitting here. Not a bad spot to meditate I suppose!
We get our second sighting of a black robin on our way down – the first was a juvenile up by the Routeburn Flats hut.
One final swing bridge and we are at the shelter. Time for a photo, some lunch and a rest in the shade before our driver arrives.
Another fantastic advantage of finishing at this end – the scenery on the drive back to Queenstown is a fabulous reminder that we really do live in paradise.
I really really REALLY loved this walk and I’m looking forward to doing more of them. Now to get my foot sorted out so I can keep running too!
Today we walked: 10.2km
Elevation: We started at 1000metres and ended up at 492