Breathtaking landscapes are in abundance on this truly majestic walk. With stunning 360 degree views of some of the most spectacular scenery, you will ever see anywhere in the world.
This easy half-day walk is on the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and a spectacular trek in its own right. A well graded and easy track to follow is suitable for walkers of most abilities and those with young families. Allow 3 hours return.
If you’re short on time and would like to experience a Fiordland Walk or even get a taste of the Routeburn Track, I recommend Key Summit. There are other great day walks in the park; Gertrude Saddle is one and one of our Top 5 Day Walks in New Zealand. You would need to set aside a day for this walk and have some tramping experience. It’s another stunning hike with great views if you have the time.
The Divide to Key Summit return 3 hours, 7.8 kilometre’s
Starting from the carpark at The Divide, the track climbs gently on the Routeburn Track to the Key Summit junction. Allow 30 to 60 minutes for this section. Take the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Fiordland’s lush rainforest. There’s a nice mixture of trees and native plants here, with beech the dominant native tree.
From the junction, it’s a 20-minute climb to Key Summit. The climb is steady and the track zigzags with stunning views. Take the alpine nature walk, which loops back to where you started. This is the highlight of the walk and best described as a wonderland of tarns, bogs, stunted beech trees and native plants. It has the most amazing views of Fiordland’s towering mountain peaks, glacial carved valleys of the Hollyford and Greenstone. The mountain lakes of Lake Marian and the forest that stretches as far as the eye can see is simply spectacular.
After the Alpine walk return the same way to the Divide. If you have extra time, continue along the Routeburn Track to Lake Howden and the hut. Allow 60 to 90 minutes return from the Key Summit junction.
The drive from Te Anau to the start of the Key Summit Track is approximately 85 kilometres; travel time is around 1.5 hours.
Take the Milford Road to Milford Sound and watch out for the signs for The Divide, the carparks on the right side of the Milford Road coming from Te Anau.
If you’re backpacking, or don’t have your own transport, here are some other transport options for accessing the walk.
What to take
This is an easy bush walk; however, Fiordland is one of the wettest places in the world. It rains 200 days of the year so picking a good day can be difficult. With that in mind taking the right gear to keep dry and warm is essential; this is what I recommend you take:
- Food and water
- Waterproof raincoat
- Sturdy footwear
- Warm clothing: thermals and fleece
- Hat and gloves
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- First Aid Kit
For more information on what to take hiking check-out my blog.
To print the above map, click on Key Summit Walk highlighted at the top of the map. The printing and PDF option at the bottom of this page will print or download the post except for the map. Once selected, choose actions to print the map. This map gives great information for getting to the start of the track, however, it’s only a guide of the route, for more detail on the track click on the topomap below, and this can also be printed.
For more information on where the ascents and descents are. Plus the distance and height at any point on the map, click on Key Summit Walk highlighted at the top of the map. This will enlarge the map. Then click the box to show elevation, the graph will appear below the map. Run your cursor over the elevation graph, this will display on the map where the ascents and descents are. It will also give you the distance and height at any point on the map. It’s a useful tool for planning your walk. The topomap below gives similar information, especially the ascents and descents. However, you need to know how to read those maps to get that information. The mapometer map gives you that information and more by simply moving the cursor over the graph.
Expect some variation in times depending on conditions and personal fitness levels. I’ve graded this an easy walk. The tracks are well defined and well-marked, there are no stream or river crossings and the duration of this walk is less than 6 hours. Whereas, a hard walk is one that is more than 6 hours, will have longer steeper climbs, have river crossings and requires good navigational skills.
Enjoy your walk?