Walking the Milford Track
Little has changed since New Zealand’s Milford Track was described as “the finest walk in the world” by the London Spectator in 1908.
The track winds up steep mountains, along narrow valleys, across suspension bridges, beside torrential waterfalls and through the lush vegetation of Fiordlands National Park, a World Heritage area.
From Lake Te Anau, a river walk through beech forests and open meadows leads to a series of challenging switchback ascents to 1073m at McKinnon Pass, the hike’s highest point, providing spectacular sunset views. The path descends to Roaring Burn and the three-leap, 579m Sutherland Falls, the fourth highest waterfall in the world.
The last leg of the hike descends alongside the Arthur River to finish at Milford Sound, where a ferry ride takes you to buses that will shuttle you back to Te Anau or Queenstown.
Rating & distance Offers easy and well-marked routes through some of New Zealand’s stunning natural scenery over a distance of 53km.
Time frame You must complete the hike in four days and three nights. The route can only be traversed in one direction and only 40 hikers are allowed on the track per day.
Accommodation You need to stay at prescribed huts along the way. Two types of accommodation exist en route: private lodges, complete with warm showers, beds and fully prepared dinners and breakfasts; and remote huts for the self-sufficient backpacker. Later, relax in comfort at any of these luxury hotels in Queenstown.
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Best time to walk Milford Track
High season for this four-day tramp is November through April, when the temperature averages a low of 10˚C and a high 22˚C. Even in summer and early spring, the weather is unpredictable and often wet – the Milford Track sees as much as 2100cm annually.
Top attractions aroung the Milford Track
McKinnon Pass – Named for the Scotsman who built the trail in 1888, the highest point of the Milford Track offers spectacular views of Mount Eliot and the Jervois Glacier.
Sutherland Falls – A triple-tiered, 579m waterfall, the fourth highest waterfall in the world.
Milford Sound – Take a cruise or paddle a kayak along New Zealand’s iconic fjord. With a backdrop of 1500m-high glacial cliffs, plunging waterfalls and a moody, misty calm – whether its teeming with rain or glistening in sunshine – the 22km-long fjord is simply stunning. In the foreground stands Mitre Peak, dominating the skyline.