Before moving to Jakarta, Jeff and I loved hiking and backpacking during the warm summer months in Oregon so the first booking we made while travel planning for New Zealand was the Routeburn Track, a 20 mile hike featuring incredible views of the Southern Alps and surrounding valleys. Considering that our fitness levels have been on a steady decline since moving to Jakarta, I was a bit apprehensive and convinced Jeff to do the hike in 4 days rather than the typical 3 days the most able bodied people opt for. New Zealand has an amazing set-up for all of the Great Walks which includes huts to sleep in and cooking stoves to use. Its was so nice to have a cosy bed and warm dinner to look forward to after a day of hiking. You're sharing the huts with about 50 other people so earplugs and eye masks are a must, but it sure beats carrying a tent and thermarest.
Our first day of the trek was the shortest segment and a great starter to ease ourselves into the hike. We were dropped off at The Divide and took a small detour up to Key Summit to enjoy our picnic lunch and get our first taste of the scenery we would enjoy for the next 3 days.
|Our picnic view at the top of Key Summit|
|My handsome mountain man|
|Our reward after all the "strenuous" hiking|
|View of Lake Howden - where we stayed our first night|
|Jeff had his selfie stick and camera ready at all times|
|Lake Mackenzie - Jeff couldn't resist going for a swim in several icy lakes including this one.|
|Our hut the second night.|
|Beautiful rainbow as the fog cleared.|
|On our way up Conical Hill|
|New Facebook picture?|
|We took so many pictures along this section of the trail - if I had to choose a favorite, this would be it.|
|The view from the Routeburn Falls Hut - just a few days back in nature and it seems like we both get our sparkle back.|
|Jeff and I found the sheep crossing hilarious.|
|Our campervan for the rest of the trip.|
|Burgers the size of our heads.|
|Vineyards in any country always make us nostalgic for Oregon wine along with friends and family back home.|
Our first week in New Zealand was exactly what we had hoped for - nature, scenery, relaxing, and wine tasting. We had a dramatic change of plans the second week due me getting appendicitis. Since this post has become way too long, I'll write more about that in the next installment.