Milford Track

Key information: Milford Track

  • The Milford Track, one of the world's most famous walks, offers an exquisite taste of New Zealand's Fiordland.
  • It offers the chance to tramp through some stunning scenery, finishing at the breathtakingly picturesque Milford Sound.
  • Wander past waterfalls, take in peaks both far and near, and scramble over undergrowth and rubble on New Zealand's premier route.
  • This is a tough walk through high mountains, during which you may have to be self-sufficient. 

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating84
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest2
  • Charisma34
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating84

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 53.5km
  • 4 days
  • Maximum Altitude: 1,100m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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WALK SUMMARY

The Milford Track is one of the most famous walks in the world; a unique experience and one that has delighted visitors since its inception over one hundred years ago. Despite its immense popularity, a maximum of 40 walkers being allowed to start the single direction trail per day ensures that you find it a more personal and intimate experience than the figure of 1,400 annual travellers might have you think.

 

The trail winds its way through the spectacular terrain of the South Island's Fiordland National Park, finally ending at the magnificent and world famous Milford Sound. To experience this sensational trek, through dense forests and incredible gorges, you must first and rather unconventionally make your way via bus and then boat, to the secluded trail head at Glade Wharf, at the head of Lake Te Anau, before making your way to the nearby first hut. Such huts are maintained by the park, and populate the trackside along its length, providing some wonderful settings for relaxing evenings spent reflecting on the perfect vistas gawped at during the day's exertions.

 

From Day 2, the trail becomes that much more demanding; after a beautiful stretch along the side of the glacial Lake Mintaro, and having emerged into that gorgeous shoreline from a cascade filled canyon, you are faced with the somewhat more daunting task of contending with a series of switchbacks to attain the altitude of the Mackinnon Pass. Should the weather favour you, your exertions will be rewarded with extensive views over Mt Eliot and the Jervois Glacier and massive tracts of alpine landscape will unfold behind you.

 

En route you will pass countless waterfalls and careering cascades, notable among them the Sutherland Falls, with a quite sensational three-tiered 1,904ft drop to its distant plug pool. At 3,519ft, the Mackinnon Pass marks the highest point on the trail, offering sweeping vistas over the rugged alpine landscape of Arthur Valley below. There are hanging valleys and glacial troughs, rock faces scored with striations, a whole multitude of the features that abound in any area heavily affected by glaciation, all of which contribute to the walk's character. Ultimately though, it is the majesty of Milford Sound, with Mitre Peak rearing up at its head, that encapsulates the essence of this fabulous trek; sheer grand brilliance. An experience impossible to forget. 

 

If you do not have time to walk the entire Milford Track, it is possible to get a coach and catamaran transfer from the town of Te Anau to the head of Lake Te Anau and do a guided day walk along the start of the Milford Track. The outing takes 9 hours and includes a picnic lunch at Clinton Hikers Hut. Contact Real Journeys Visitor Centre in Te Anau for further information and prices.

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS

Name: Greg Locock
Posted on: 19/10/2010
Hmm. I know they market it as 'the best walk in the world', but really that is daft. Firstly the public accomodation is on a strict rota basis, and you get one night in each hut, in high season. So you you won't be stopping to smell the roses. Secondly, the bloody sandlies on the last day, at the not very enigmatically named Sandfly Point, are actually less irritating than the constant stream of helicopters and light aircraft buzzing overhead. Thirdly, it only takes three days. Well OK, that isn't really a criticism, but if you are caught by a bad weather system you could do the whole thing in the rain. Very minor whinge - the public huts are a bit soulless. The scenery is terrific and the change from temperate forest to snowy wind whipped pass and then back to sea level is bracing, and the actual walk is not especially hard, when we did it we shared the path with some 60 year olds. The ferry trip in is good fun, I didn't enjoy the boat trip out so much, probably just end-of-walk blues.

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

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OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

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Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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