A broke girl with a bucket list

Trek: The Routeburn

Trek: The Routeburn

The Lowdown

Distance: 32 kilometres

Location: Fiordland National Park and Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

Time: 3 full days (2 nights)

With: Ultimate Hikes NZ

This one wins points just on the fluke weather that we ended up having over the trek. Three days of sunshine, clear skies, and views as far as the Tasman meant that we never tired of things to look at. Despite being a fairly easy walk (with only one optional hike really working up a sweat), the Routeburn more than made up for it in views. The fact that I could walk the last two days on a crap ankle was pretty encouraging, but I feel what the trek lacked in difficulty it made up for in length. By the time we rolled up to the lodges each evening, we were more than ready for dinner (or at least to raid the cheese platter until the tables were set up!)

Obviously this is not the kind of hike a student does, but I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to do a trek through a company. Not having to worry about carrying anything but clothing, and eating incredible food each night (as well as the awesome selection of trek snacks we got to pack each morning!) was such a bonus. I was also introduced to drying rooms for the first time in my life and it’s strsight on the list for my dream house – imagine how easy washing would be!

Rating: 8/10

Packing List

Disclaimer: as we were going with a guided company (thanks Nigel), we didn’t have to carry anything like food or tents, so this is really just a list of clothing and bits and bobs I carried for three days.

for hiking

  • hiking boots
  • 3 pairs of thick socks
  • Nike shorts (I’m yet to invest in proper trousers but who knows maybe I never will)
  • 2 non-cotton shirts
  • long sleeved shirt
  • fleece
  • raincoat
  • ankle brace
  • cap
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellent
  • phone (for photos)

for the lodges

  • leggings
  • a comfy shirt
  • trainers (hiking boots are a no-go inside)
  • PJs
  • sleeping bag liner
  • toohbrush/toothpaste
  • deoderent
  • pack of cards
  • phone charger

what I should have packed

  • blister bandaids
  • neurofen / ibuprofen
  • strapping tape
  • shirts to hike in my with sleeves (and more of them!)

I’m going to give myself a good 7/10 on packing this time around. Granted, a lot of the things overnight hikers usually have to carry I didn’t need to worry about as we went through a company, but with the amazing weather I definitely felt overprepared in the clothing department. Where I fell short by far was in first aid. Already struggling with an ankle injury should have been motivation to pack more than a thermal brace for hiking in but my positive mindset proved problematic when I woke up on the second day of the hike in pain. Luckily, I was able to make the most of our guides’ first aid kits but next time neurofen, blister bandaids and strapping tapes are going straight into my pack. Also, despite it being rare for NZ, the unexpectedly good weather meant that I should probably have invested in non-cotton t shirts to hike in to avoid the sunburn that I ended up catching.