Advice hiking in Queenstown / Wanaka area
Based on the elevation profiles and lengths I would do a track like Routeburn in 2 days and Kepler in 3 if it was in the USA, but since you guys have some pretty serious weather in NZ, I figure it's worth it to budget extra days. For instance, I'd hate to travel 12,000 km to the South Island only to have weather completely block out the high views I'm paying through the nose on my airfare to come see. I have read so many trip reports that go like, 'had a great time on Milford, but the weather was bad and the visibility was next to zero the day I did Mackinnon Pass.' I think I'll leave the tent at home and take advantage of the huts though; that kind of accommodation in crazy expensive in the US national parks, but $54 NZ doesn't seem too crazy to be able to drop a couple kilos from my pack weight by not bringing the tent, pad, stove, and fuel (maybe I'll bring my smaller pack too) while being able to cook on a real stove. The extra day for Routeburn is to have some time to leisurely go up the North Branch of the Route Burn. I saw a video of it from November 2010 that just looked spectacular.
Of course if Cascade Saddle ends up looking pretty snow-free by when I make my bookings, I'll definitely have to cut some time from Routeburn and eliminate Kepler to fit Rees-Dart+Cascade Saddle in instead.
i prefer the routeburn in three, the huts are at such fantastic locations you have to stop and relax there...
Flag this post if it is spam, off-topic, or inappropriate.