Enjoy this 3-hr return hike along the famous Routeburn track to Key Summit with its mossy trees and silver ferns in a temperate rain forest. After about an hour from the start of the hike at the car park off Milford Road, the path branches off on a 20-25 min (rather steep) climb to the Key Summit for views of Fiordland National Park.
I loved all the mossy trees and ferns along the track. I felt like I stepped right into a movie like Fern Gully or Avatar!
This half-day hike is rated easy/intermediate and takes you through the temperate rain forest and past waterfalls. There are lots of trees that line the path, which keep you shaded on a sunny day or shelter you from light rain.
I was a little disappointed that we weren’t able to see the grand views we were expecting, however we still enjoyed the exercise and being surrounded by nature.
There’s a self-guided looped nature walk at the summit with signs that give information on the native vegetation and bird life.
If the weather cooperates and it’s not too foggy, you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the Fiordland mountains and alpine lakes from the Key Summit. It’s a beautiful hike even on the foggiest of days and worth the effort no matter the weather.
Tip: Before you start the hike, check in with the Visitor’s Information Center for information on weather conditions. It can be pretty dangerous if it’s raining hard because the narrow paths can get really muddy/slippery and there could be a chance of rock/mud slides.