Wild Things - New Zealand's trail running community
New Zealand's trail running community


don't have an account?

Whisky Trail and Routeburn, Otago

Trail Directory proudly supported by Further Faster

Update Your Header Picture

Whisky Trail and RouteburnExperienced

Submitted by James Harcombe

Info Info
Map Loading

Trail Information






Te Anau

Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Very hilly

Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops


15:00 (Slow)
11:00 (Moderate)
9:00 (Fast)



Download PDF Guide

Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

Please set your gender to see your position on the FKT leaderboards.


There are currently no male FKTs for Whisky Trail and Routeburn.


There are currently no female FKTs for Whisky Trail and Routeburn.

Filter FKTs

The more , the harder the FKT will be to beat. Learn about Fastest Known Times.

Missing your time?

Register or login as a VIP and get yourself on the FKT leaderboard!

Register Now


From the Divide, follow the Routeburn Track as far as Howden Hut. Take a right turn at the hut down the Greenstone. About 10k into the run, and just before McKellar Hut, you will cross a bridge, after which the Hut is signposted to the left. At this point, turn right and follow the orange markers up the spur on the fairly obvious track. One of the markers is marked 'to point 1543'. Once above the treeline, continue up the spur, until you reach a flatter boggy area. From here, head to the peak off to the right (marked as pt1543 on the topo map). There is an obvious line between two rock outcrops - be prepared, it is steep!

Once at the top, you will want to stop and take in the awesome views! From here, scramble down the scree on the Northern Slopes, and continue North on the obvious ridge. Eventually, you'll reach the Key Summit Track, and descend onto the Routeburn Track. from here, you can turn left and go back to the Divide if you're doing it as a loop (about 25km's), or turn right, and head along the track to the Routeburn Shelter.

Trail Community

Find people who are interested in this run.

You must register or login to view this content.

Features of interest

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 20%

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 20%

Route Data


You must register or login to view this content.

Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each

Ailsa - Humboldt Circuit

Ailsa - Humboldt Circuit

Length: 64.00km



Length: 54.00km


You must register or login to view this content.

Your Trail Wishlist

All the runs that are on your To Do list (no limit).

Add to wishlist view wishlist

Your Trail Dreamlist

The runs you most want to do (limited to 10).

Add to dreamlist view dreamlist

Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Car park at the Divide off of SH94 - Milford Road

    If you want to just do the Whisky Trail, then there's plenty of car parking at the Divide. To add in the Routeburn, you will need to arrange transport with one of the many bus companies, or get Trackhopper to re-locate your car (www.trackhopper.co.nz).

    84 km

    66 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    At the flat boggy area on the way to pt1543, navigation would be difficult without line of sight. The route's not recommended in bad weather.


    Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).

    Plenty of water on the lower sections and the Routeburn Track, however, once on the spur towards pt1543 there is very little water. Along the tops between pt1543 and Key Summit, there are a few alpine tarns if you're desperate!

    The Whisky Trail is a fine weather, summer only run. During the Winter, there is significant avalanche hazard and ice. The trail should also be avoided in poor visibility - there have been deaths on the peak in summer.

    Avalanche prone, snow and ice after storms. Steep bluffs and cliffs on the side of pt1543

  • Post run indulgence

    Kinloch Lodge
    Best selection of beer near Glenorchy! Great coffee and accommodation as well (with a spa for post run indulgence!)

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


Got a favourite trail? Tell us about it.

Share the love and add your favourite trail(s) to our growing trail directory.

Submit A Trail

Become a member today

Start enjoying the many benefits to becoming a member of our thriving community.

Become a member

Great brands at great prices with our VIP member's discount

Stay up to date

Sign up to our newsletter for latest offers and trail guides

Share this trail with a friend:

VIP Membership

Please register as a VIP or login to your VIP account to view this content.

Cancel Login Register

Membership Required

You can see up to three trail guides without being logged in but after that we require you to be logged in to your Free or VIP account. If you don’t yet have an account you can register here.

Login Register