Walking the Routeburn: The Perfect End to Base Training

Exploring my backdoor-step is something I love to do. As an athlete it is important to have a balance with training and its alright to do something a little bit different!

My base training had come to an end. Meaning I was about to start more intensive training leading into my 2018 season. Before starting the build for the next season, I really wanted to get out and explore more of what my home had to offer. Earlier on in the year, my family and I hiked the Kepler in two nights. It was one of the most spectacular things I had ever done. So I decided that walking another one of New Zealand’s Great Walks the Routeburn would be an awesome idea.

The Routeburn is a three day hike; I decided that three days of walking with a big pack would be an awesome way to finish my strength and endurance phase of training. Luckily I was able to book us into the hut. This meant we didn’t have to carry a tent around with us like when we did the Kepler…

Yay for lighter packs!

Day One

Back at home I double checked my pack making sure that I had everything. I did not want to be stuck out in the middle of no where missing important gear! The start of the Hike was only an hour and half drive away. So after a lunch stop in Queenstown at my favorite cafe Bespoke, we headed to the car park at the Routeburn shelter. From there the walking began.

The first day was nice an easy, only about 9 km of gradually climbing about 500 m. At the start we meet a tourist who wanted some walking buddies. He was really friendly and also took lots of photos for me and my family. Which was an added bonus!

When we arrived at the first hut, the view back down the valley was spectacular! The hut was nestled into the top of the bush line. The view looked out towards the mountains and down the valley we had just walked up. I left my pack at the hut and went off to explore. It was amazing how light and springy I felt once taking my pack off!

There were some beautiful waterfalls that I went to explore, the whole area was stunning. It was so nice to just sit, chill and enjoy the view.

Day Two

The next morning the whole hut was up relatively early. However, my family and I had a relaxing breakfast before heading off for the day. We were not in to too much of a hurry as the days walk to the next was only supposed to take 4-5 hours.

After ten minutes of walking we came across a side track that winds steeply up the side of the mountain. There was no point in taking our packs so we left them close to the trail. I am so glad we took this little side trip; The climb was short and hard, but the view at the top was probably one of my favorites from the whole trip.

For the next hour or so we climbed up towards the saddle where we stopped for a hot cuppa! I was also very hungry and ate away at a few to many of my snacks – Whoops I was already running low on food supplies. This caused me to learn a lesson very quickly, and that was to pack more food. Meaning, I stole lots of food from my parents. I think I am just a hungry person with a large appetite!

The rest of the day was mainly down hill. The last hour descended very quickly down to a gorgeous lake where our next hut was nestled. I actually found the descending the hardest and my legs were defiantly feeling the burn – I probably needed to hit the gym more often!

We got the the hut really early and still had some time to kill. We spent the next few hours exploring the lake area, before heading back to the hut to relax for the afternoon. We ended up eating dinner really early and headed to our sleeping area at about 7 pm. I was really tired from being on the go for pretty much the whole day, and started dozing off before 8 pm. However, this seemed to be the norm for everyone else too!

Annoyingly, there was quite the snorer that night. He had fallen asleep at 7 pm and man he was noisy! I had brought along some earplugs, but even with them in I could still here him. I must have been really tired because I actually managed to fall asleep rather quickly, and did not wake up till dawn. However it wasn’t quite the same case for my parents who had a shocker sleep from our snoring friend!

Day Three

Irritatingly, I woke up with pretty sore legs. Being an athlete I always thought I was really fit, but obviously not when it comes to walking! The weather on our last day was overcast and slightly drizzly. Pretty classic as we were in the Fiordland area which is know for an immense amount of rainfall. Luckily, most the walk was through bush so we didn’t get to wet. Even though the whether was a little dreary, the walk was just as spectacular as the other days.

The whole scenery was totally different; the bush was much lusher and green, and huge waterfalls that transcended down the mountain sides. The trail took us past these falls, and the energy as we walked past was very intense!

As I was quite tired, I was very motivated to walk as quick as possible. Meaning, we got to the car before lunch.  Which was good because I was well and truly out of food and was keen for a big feed at Te Anau.

I had such an amazing time and really got to appreciate the beauty of my country. Exploring the outdoors is one of my favorite activities and I can’t wait to do more!