Sugarloaf / Rockburn Track

The Routeburn Track is deservedly one of the most popular walks in New Zealand. The Sugarloaf / Rockburn Track starts 15 minutes into the Routeburn Track and is remarkably unpopular, which is a good thing!

Despite it being a long weekend I saw pretty much no one on the track all day. I had an epic lake, a deep chasm, views of cloud filled valleys, and endless beech forests to myself.It was rather cold though, 2C when I left the Routeburn Shelter car park at 9am. I returned by 5pm after a full 19km day of walking, with only a 20 minute stop for lunch. Reaching the 1,154m Sugarloaf Saddle involved a 650m ascent which quickly warmed me up.

The effort was worth it once I finally got above the tree line, with wonderful views of the cloud filled valley below me.

The pass made for a good lunch stop, though sadly the track soon headed back into the forest. It was welcoming at first, then rather dicey heading down a steep and slippery collection of tree roots and rocks.

The track from here to Rockburn was pretty narrow, and up and down, with fallen trees to make my way over or around.

I’m glad I took the detour to visit Rockburn Chasm, with brilliant blue / green waters flowing far below the bridge.

I got a closer look at the waters before heading round to Rockburn Shelter.

The shelter toilet had an interesting loo roll holder!

More beech forest and fallen trees followed before reaching my highlight of the day, the light fading over a perfectly still Lake Sylvan, perfect.

The track got super easy / boring from there, particularly the 4km walk along the road from Sylvan Road car park back to the Routeburn Shelter car park.

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