Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club

Private Member Event

Routeburn Falls and beyond

Friday, September 13 2019 — Sunday, September 15 2019

The Basics
Event type: Tramping
Start date: Friday, September 13 2019
End Date: Sunday, September 15 2019
Registration cut-off Friday, September 13 2019 9:00 PM
Trip organizers
Steve August [Otago]
Cost Routeburn Falls is a DOC hut so you'll need to buy a hut ticket. They're about $10, because it's off-season for the Routeburn. Ideally buy beforehand, or we can stop at DOC en route through Queenstown. We'll split petrol costs - can sort out costs for that on the trip.
Participant Information
Who's invited Members and guests
Attendee screening Registration is first come, first served
Maximum number of participants 12
Total number registered 3
Who's registered You must be logged in to view participant list
The start of the Routeburn in a bit of snow.  These are the toilets.  The Falls hut is further in and higher up..
Lake Harris with enough ice and snow to make walking to the saddle easy.


Anyone is welcome.  This is a very relaxed non-desperate weekend away on the Routeburn in winter, which if we're lucky enough to have lots of snow and sunshine is just beautiful.  Usually just a few or no other people up there - unlike summer!

Assemble at Steve August's crib (bach) at Bannockburn on Friday afternoon or evening.  (Rapid number 480; drive from Cromwell to Bannockburn, past the pub, past the cafe, over the rise and down the other side - my place is the last house in Bannockburn on the right; rapid 480 on the 5-barred wooden gate in the pine trees.  I'll provide good soup, bread and mulled wine for Friday evening.

Then Saturday drive through Queenstown and Glenorchy (coffees!) to the start of the Routeburn track.  Walk up to Routeburn Falls hut; probably 3 hours or so.  Night at the hut; sleep round the fire on mattresses from the cold, dark bunk rooms.  Sunday walks to the Harris Saddle if the lake will bear; otherwise up to the top tarns above the hut; otherwise possibly climb Xenicus.  All very relaxed and weather and snow/ice dependent.  

Will have two sets of snowshoes if you've never used them.

Out Sunday afternoon and back to Bannockburn.  Anyone is welcome to stay the night - will fire up the hot tub if we get back in time.

Fallbacks if weather or road conditions too bad to get to the Routeburn:
(1) Drive from Bannockburn up onto the Carrick range and around the frozen water race up to the Old Woman hut.  (This is pretty cool - like walking along a contour line.) 

(2)  Worst case scenario - stay at Bannockburn, fire up the hot tub, put on storm gear and do a walking tour of the surrounding vineyards.

Getting There

See above.  I'm taking my van up on Friday to Bannockburn; hope to leave about lunchtime.  Can take up to four more people.  But not coming back to Dunedin until the Monday.

We can fit transport to suit - let me know who wants to do what.

I'm not used to this form (but I'm trying, Ryan!), so if no go on it, just email me directly at, or ring me on 0274 463 356.

What to Expect

Long range YR forecast says snow and there's already been quite a lot up there.  Shouldn't be any problem getting to the Falls hut - we're in the trees pretty much all the way.  Only problem might be getting past Glenorchy and up to the Routeburn carpark - just can't tell yet.  If anyone coming has a 4WD, that might be useful.

Better plan for snowfall, so storm gear, snow gaiters, ice axe (I have spares) needed just in case.  Snow shoes can be hired from NZAC - won't be needed to get to the hut, but could be fun after that in good weather.  We'll be bringing two pairs anyway.

Expect a very relaxed unwind in beautiful country - hopefully in fine weather, but it's gorgeous even in a blizzard.

Possible Hazards


Definitely storm gear, to be safe.  So snow gaiters, overtrou, dark glasses, good waterproof parka, lot of warm stuff, woolly hats/balaclavas, gloves, etc.  I've got one reliable gas burner; if you have another good stove then put it in.  We can all rationalise gear at Bannockburn on Friday evening.

Bring sun block.

Bring an ice axe - I have one spare.  There's one bit between the Flats and Falls huts where it might be useful.  

I have an EPERB (personal locator beacon).

Provide your own food, but again we can pool what we've got on ride evening if that suits.


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