Kinloch / Glenorchy area day walks
The Kinloch/Glenorchy area has over 19 different day walks to enjoy. Walks vary in length from 1 hour to a full day and there is something for every fitness level.
What to expect on a walking track:
- Easy to moderate walking from a few minutes to a day
- Track is mostly well formed, some sections may be steep, rough or muddy
- Suitable for people with low to moderate fitness and abilities
- Clearly sign posted with stream and river crossings bridged
- Walking shoes or light tramping/hiking boots required
Difficulty: EASY (2hrs and under)
Routeburn nature walk
Time: 45 minutes
A gentle wander on a well made path through a stand of majestic Red Beech trees. Great for photographers, young children and an after lunch ramble. Park at the Routeburn shelter and follow the signs after 5-10 minutes walk from the trailhead.
Starting approximately 15 minutes from Kinloch on the Routeburn-Glenorchy road, the Diamond Creek walk is a gentle stroll. Diamond Creek is a very popular stream with trout fisherman and avid birders. This sometimes boggy track to Lake Reid gives excellent opportunities for viewing waterfowl and views up to Paradise and the Dart Valley.
Time: 1 hour return
Follow the Greenstone/Caples Track from the car park. After 2-3 minutes walk a stock bridge gives access to the Lake Rere Track (do not cross here but keep to the true left bank looking downstream). The track continues past the confluence of the Caples and Greenstone Rivers. Another swing bridge provides access to the Greenstone Track. Going further up the Greenstone track will lead to several deep holes ideal for swimming on a summer's day. Follow the track back the way you came to get back to the car park.
Kinloch Scenic Walk
Time: 1 hour return
Walk along the shores of Lake Wakatipu from Kinloch wharf to the cottage on the foreshore and then return or via the road through the beech forest. This short walk offers a great introduction to the birdlife in the area. The three note call of the Korimako (Bell Bird) can be heard repeating over and over again. Curious Piwakawakas (Fantails) often follow walkers on their journey around the lake. If you stand still and slowly scratch at the ground with the toe of your boot, a South Island Robin just might jump on top of it!
Time: 1.5 - 2 hours
A flat walk starting at the Lake Sylvan DOC campsite. This easy day walk feels like a stroll through an enchanted forest. As you get deeper into the forest of tall red beech trees, let your imagination run wild - seems the perfect place for Orks, Hobbits and Centaurs to be running about! The track winds up to pretty Lake Sylvan, home to brown trout and small native fish.
You can come back the way you came, or return via the 1920s tramline loop. The loop track takes you through regenerating beech forest and is an Operation Ark site where Department of Conservation staff are working to protect the endangered yellowhead/mōhua. This track is also the entry point for longer overnight trips to Sugarloaf Pass and Rockburn and Beasburn huts.
Lake Rere Track
Time: 5 hours (loop)
Lake Rere is a fantastic and varied circular route starting from the Greenstone car park (12km from Kinloch). Walk through bush, open farm land, beech forest and join the Greenstone track for the last leg. The Lake Rere track offers ample opportunity for photography and bird watching.
Taking the loop clockwise, cross the bridge and follow the marked route across Greenstone Station's open paddocks for an hour to the crystal clear waters at Elfin Bay. A gentle climb through red beech forest eases before reaching picturesque Lake Rere (running water), a popular tourist destination in the late 19th century.
Take a picnic and lunch on the shores of the lake, take pictures of the mirror reflections or simply sit and listen to the calls of the Korimakos (Bell Birds), Piwakawakas (Fantails) and South Island Robins. Pockets of mountain beech and grassland lead you to a second bridge and a brief climb to join the Greenstone Track.
Time: 3-5 hours, Half day
The Glacier Burn track is the closest day walk from Kinloch (3km away) and can be accessed without a vehicle. This steep track climbs straight up the mountains through the beech forest behind the lodge. Follow the creek until you see the marker for the crossing. You'll see old saw-milling snig lines near the start of the track.
After approximately two hours, you will arrive in Glacier Basin. If you follow the creek further up you'll be treated to views of the Humboldt Mountains. This challenging day walk offers excellent photo opportunities and the chance to view native bird life.
Do not go above the bushline in winter or spring as the area is prone to avalanches.
Invincible Gold Mine
Time: 2 - 2.5 hours
A steep climb takes you to the Invincible Gold Mine with good views of the Rees Valley and Mount Earnslaw. Along the track you can see the remains of the water wheel and a unique set of seven berdans - large, revolving cast iron bowls in which the ore was ground. The Gold Extractor is about 5 minutes from the start of the Invincible Gold Mine track. The track was built by miners in the early 1880s.
Routeburn Falls Day Walk
Time: 5 - 7 hours return
Between the Routeburn Flats Hut and the Routeburn Falls Hut is a significant gain in elevation. This steady climb through the beech forest crosses 2 swing bridges and offers spectacular views of the valley below.
In 1994, heavy rain created a slip which washed away part of the original track so take care when crossing the slip, particularly after heavy rain.
The bridge at Emily Creek is the midway point of this section of the track. If trekking early or late in the season, beware of avalanches that have been know to fall as far as the bridge.
Be sure to visit the waterfall this hut was named for - approximately 15 min walk past the hut.
To the top of the Routeburn
Time: Full Day
For a full day walk on the Routeburn Track, trampers with moderate to extreme fitness levels can make it to the Harris Saddle and Conical Hill. Spectacular views make this day walk particularly rewarding on clear bright days.
From the Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie, the track climbs steadily following the Routeburn to its outlet from Lake Harris. A steep sidle through moraine and around the bluffs above Lake Harris leads to the Harris Saddle (1255m) and the shelter, which is available for day use only. Allow 1.5 to 2.5 hours for the climb from the Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie.
Conical Hill, 1 - 2 hours return from Harris Saddle. A short, steep, rocky climb from the Harris Saddle up Conical Hill gives superb views of the Hollyford Valley through to Lake McKerrow, Martins Bay and the Tasman Sea.
This walk is not recommended in snow or adverse weather conditions.
Time: 4-8 hours
Mt. Alfred is a pleasant day walk affording spectacular views of the Dart River Valley. The track is steep, but three quarters of the climb follows a good zig zag track. After this, a marked route can be followed as far as the bushline. Above the bushline this track is steep and exposed. This track is not recommended for young children. The approach is on the Western (Dart) side of the peak - look for a small car park area unmarked on the left hand side of the Glenorchy to Routeburn road. The public can still walk to the bushline as it's DOC land but if you want to go beyond you'll need to book: http://www.wildlightnz.com/guided-walks/mt-alfred-summit/
Whakaari /Mt McIntosh circuit
Time: Full Day, Multi-day
Note: River crossing experience is essential.
This track starts at the Whakaari Conservation Area carpark and finishes on the Queenstown/Glenorchy Rd beside the Buckler Burn. From the junction follow the marked track steeply down to the Buckler Burn, which is then crossed. A steep climb up an old mining road leads to McIntyre Hut (5 bunks) and a further hour and 30 minutes on, beyond Long Gully Saddle, is McIntosh Hut (dilapidated).
To continue on the loop track, drop back to the saddle and climb another old mining track to the ridge. Follow this ridge for another hour, with superb views of Lake Wakatipu, Mt Earnslaw/Pikirakatahi, and the Dart Valley, before dropping down a very steep unformed track along a fence line to the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, five minutes north of the carpark.
Time: 8-10hrs, Full Day
This track is suitable for people with moderate to high level backcountry skills and experience. Situated north of Glenorchy and signposted near the Scott Creek bridge left on the Routeburn/Kinloch Road.
The walk is 5 hours to the bushline and the route is irregularly marked. The track is steep and in some places parts are obscured or washed out. You may occasionally need to follow the creek bed. From the old musterers hut, you can access the Caples Valley via Kay Creek.
WARNING: This track is irregularly marked and requires river crossings, which can be dangerous during high rainfall. You can be bluffed out at the saddle in poor visibility. Not recommended for children, route finding skills essential.
Earnslaw Burn Track
Time: Full Day or Multi-day
About 20 minutes drive from Kinloch or Glenorchy, the Earnslaw Burn Track is a challenging daywalk or multi-day hike with fantasitc views of an icefall on Mt. Earnslaw. The track follows the Earnslaw Burn through the bush to the tussock basin and viewpoint at the head of the Rees Valley. Permission is required from Earnslaw Station to do this walk. See DOC pamphlet for information.
Moderate to high level backcountry skills and experience, including navigation and survival skills required as the track is mainly unformed and muddy. Unbridged stream and river crossings can also be expected.
Certificate of Excellence
-- 2011 to 2016 WINNER --