The Milford Track – Heart of Fiordland National Park
Distance: 53.5 km / Duration: 4 days
The Milford Track route was first pioneered by Maori in their search for greenstone (pounamu) and then as an established walking track when a path was cut up the Arthur Valley to the Sutherland Falls in 1888. Beginning at the head of Lake Te Anau , the 53.5 km Milford Track walk has long been hailed as the iconic New Zealand track which embodies this country’s geographical uniqueness and beauty. Titled “the finest walk in the world” in 1908 by the London Spectator, the Milford Track is still regarded as one of the most scenic multi-day hikes. This Great New Zealand Walk through a World Heritage area can only be completed one way taking a total of four days to complete. Your path through Fiordland National Park is a remote and stunning wilderness area, without mobile phone coverage or other urban comforts. The Milford Track is your opportunity to leave the outside world behind for a few days and nights and engage with nature.
- Package includes 6 days and 5 nights
- Pre and Post Accommodation at 3 star motel or equivalent in Queenstown (twin share)
- Transportation ex Queenstown to and from the walk
- 4 Day Walk with 3 nights in Department of Conservation Huts
From NZ$ 830 per person
Numbers are limited – Book early to secure your space.
2020/2021 Season : 30 Nov 2020 to 30 Apr 2021
Please note the walk is fully booked over the following dates:
- Bookings are due to open on 18 Aug 2020
Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut
5 km / 1 – 1.30 hours A cruise across the pristine waters of Lake Te Anau with a stunning boat cruise from Te Anau Downs (1 hour 15 minutes approx). After the cruise across Lake Te Anau it is a leisurely stroll along through beech forest along the banks of the Clinton River to Clinton hut. A short walk through wetlands and exploring some nearby swimming holes is a refreshing way to celebrate your first day on the track.
Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut
16.5 km / 6 hours Walking beneath the sheer rock valley walls, towering up to 1700m above you on either side, you will pass through ever changing native bush as you gain height and move into higher rainfall areas. Just past Heirere Falls you will get your first glimpse of Mackinnon Pass. Continue up the valley before a final short steady climb to reach Mintaro hut.
Mintaro Hut to Dumpling Hut
14 km / 6 – 7 hours Zig zag up Mackinnon Pass to the Quintin Mackinnon memorial. From here enjoy exceptional views of the Clinton Valley, Clinton Canyon and Arthur Valley. The track climbs to its highest point at 1154metres before dropping a short distance to the MacKinnon Pass shelter, a lunch stop with one of the best views you will ever find. The Arthur Valley awaits your descent past waterfalls and streams and through alpine herb fields as you approach the Quintin shelter. An option for those with some spring in their legs is leaving your pack behind and taking the 1 1/2 hour return hike to New Zealand’s highest waterfall, the iconic Sutherland Falls. Dumpling Hut and its numerous nearby swimming holes await an hour further down the track.
Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point
18 km / 5.30 – 6 hours Follow the track along the Arthur River to the historic boatshed before crossing the river by a swing bridge. Further on you will reach the impressive Mackay Falls and intriguing Bell Rock. As you pass round the edge of Lake Ada admire the rock cuttings which were blasted and hand cut. Enjoy a last lunch in the wilderness at Giant Gates Falls before your last hour of walking to Sandfly Point. Your boat ride back to civilisation will provide you with your final stunning images of Milford Sound until your next visit. Note: You should leave Dumpling Hut by 8am to make sure you connect with the boats.
What should I bring?
To enjoy freedom walking a spare set of the clothes and underwear you are most comfortable wearing will ensure the hours on the track are a pleasure not a chore. Drying garments in the hut is often not possible for safety reasons so polypropylene and light wool with its fast drying qualities and ability to keep you warm even when it is wet is the most recommended material. Cotton clothing such as jeans, T-shirts and sweatshirts can be a serious liability when wet and have been responsible for a number of hypothermic incidents for hikers caught out in the cold. Temperatures can vary during the day, with rain, sun and snow possible all on the same day at any time of the year. To ensure your clothing and sleeping bag stays dry we recommend you line your pack with a strong plastic bag before packing your gear into it.
Suggested clothing for the walks
- Boots — Comfortable and must be worn in
- Long johns/trousers (wool/polypropylene)
- Jersey/Jacket (wool/polar fleece)
- Undershirts (wool/polypropylene)
- Gloves (wool/polypropylene)
- Raincoat (waterproof and windproof with hood)
- Over trousers (wind and waterproof)
- Hat/Balaclava (wool)
- Socks — Two Pairs (wool/polypropylene)
- Shorts (nylon)
- Shirt (wool/polypropylene)
- Large waterproof pack
- Survival Kit — Survival blanket, whistle, paper, pencil, high energy snack
- Drink bottle, 1-2 litre capacity (very important to keep hydrated each day)
- Sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner
- Toilet gear, soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, small towel
- First Aid Kit, blister kit, insect repellent, sunscreen, pain relief and bandages, personal medication (e.g. antihistamine for allery to wasp stings etc.)
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Torch and spare batteries — There is no lighting in the huts either in the living area or bunkrooms or between huts and ablution blocks
- Optional extras: Camera, lightweight shoes for hut, earplugs
Food must be carried as it cannot be bought on the way, although some bartering may be possible especially if you have extra chocolate or wine. Breakfast cereals, crackers, cheese and jam for lunch and instant soup/dried pasta or dehydrated meals for dinner, snacks such as biscuits, muesli bars and tea and coffee will ensure you keep up energy levels without losing your appetite. Supermarkets in Queenstown will be able to supply all your food requirements.
Facilities at your accommodation
- While not five star, the huts you stay in have all the essentials you need for shelter and cooking with sinks, gas cookers, cold water, tables, seating benches and wood burners for heating and as well as solar lighting.
- Bunkrooms are communal with a combination of platform and/or individual bunks with mattresses. No pillows or linen is supplied
- Ablution blocks have flush or vaulted toilets and washbasins with cold water only. Those wishing for showers or baths can enjoy the number of waterfalls or swimming holes on the track
- A Department of Conservation ranger is located at each Hut
Explore More Today
Titled “the finest walk in the world” in 1908 by the London Spectator, the Milford Track is still regarded as one of the most scenic multi-day hikes. Situated in the heart of Fiordland National Park, beautiful waterfalls, native wildlife and lush green rainforest await walkers. The scenery will take your breath away. Walkers are responsible for your own and party members safety. It is very important walkers have advised others of their intentions regarding dates and routes taken before they embark on the Milford Track. Emergency locator beacons are also readily available for hire from DOC offices. Take a moment to watch the short video and explore the maps then you will begin to understand what makes this track the most popular with the locals and international visitors to this area.