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Milford Track, Te Anau Overview

The Milford Track is a one-way Great Walk extending for 53.5 km. You can enjoy walking and tramping over four days. The Great Walk tracks are famous worldwide for the well-formed paths that can be quickly followed. Depending on the terrain, the ways are broad enough in some places to fit two people walking side by side. The surface is generally dirt, rock or gravel and may get slippery during the rains. There are hill climbs with steeper tracks and splendid views.

The Milford Track takes you on a journey of admiring cascading waterfalls, wandering through ancient rainforests and hiking through glacier-carved valleys. First, capture the stunning panoramas from Mackinnon Pass with your camera. Next, visit Sutherland Falls on a short side trip. Finally, enjoy the surreal beauty encapsulating the Clinton River and its emerald waters.
The Milford Track originates at the head of Lake Te Anau at Glade Wharf. You can access it 27 km from Te Anau, at the Te Anau Downs. The walk ends in Milford Sound, at Sandfly Point. It is a one-way track, and the walk completes in four days. You can pre-book huts available on the way to spend your nights in the wild.

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Best Time to Visit Milford Track

The best time to visit the Milford Track is during the Great Walks season, which extends from the end of October to the end of August. If you wish to travel on a budget and have experience, you may visit during the off-season, which extends from the beginning of May to end of October. Expect minimal facilities during the off-season.

Costs Involved

The overnight stay at huts on the Milford Track is chargeable. For citizens of New Zealand, it costs NZD 70 per person, per night for adults. It is free for children below the age of 17 but still requires booking. In case of international visitors, the charges are NZD 140 per person per night, both for adults and children.

Outside the Great Walks season, the cost drops down to NZD 15 per person per night for all adult visitors and is free for children.

You must book all transport and huts in advance, especially if you’re visiting during the Great Walks season. There are three huts on the way, and you’re required to make bookings for all three stops.

Walk Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Reach Clinton Hut from Glade Wharf. It is a scenic walk along the banks of the Clinton River. Check out the swimming holes nearby once you reach. You may also take a short side trip to the Wetland Walkway.
  • Day 2
    Proceed forward to the Mintaro Hut for 16.5 km. It is a gradual climb leading to Lake Mintaro. Enjoy the first view of Mackinnon Pass past the Hirere Falls along with the impressive Pompolona ice field.
  • Day 3
    Walk for 14 km towards the Dumpling Hut. Enjoy exceptional views of Lake Mintaro as you climb to Mackinnon Pass. The Clinton canyon will surely amaze you. The Mackinnon Pass shelter is the highest point of the track. From here you’ll proceed with a steady drop through the alpine garden to the splendid valley floor. Several waterfalls will add to the mesmerizing view along the Roaring Burn River. You may take a short side trip to Sutherland Falls.

  • Day 4
    Proceed towards Sandfly Point, the end of the Milford Track. You will follow the Arthur River and reach the dramatic Mackay Falls, followed by the bell Rock, on your way. Take a short boat ride from the Sandfly Point to Milford Sound Village, where your journey ends.

Facilities Available

  • During the Great Walks season, which extends from the end of October to the end of April, you must make advance bookings.
  • All the huts have gas stoves for cooking along with resident wardens.
  • If you’re visiting outside of the Great Walks season, which extends from May to end of October, you must be prepared for all risks.
  • Bridges and other facilitates are reduced at this time. Avalanche and flood risk is common.
  • You must have some experience and do not need to make any bookings for the huts.
  • Facilities in the huts during the on-season include mattresses, bunks, wash basins, flushing toilets, water supply, fuel and cooking facilities.
  • There are no showers or cooking utensils.
  • During the off-season, you’ll only get basic facilities. There are pit toilets, gas without cooking stove, no running water or DOC rangers.
  • Beds are available on a first come first serve basis during this time.

Things to Know

  • Make sure you’re prepared and have the right gear
  • Before your trip, ask for track conditions by checking in with the DOC Visitor Centre
  • Lookout for the hazards like being lost, injuries, illness, hypothermia, heat exhaustion, fires, flooding on tracks, avalanches and strong winds. Make sure you have a first aid kit handy.
  • Make sure someone is aware of your plans to raise alarm if you do not return on the expected day.
  • In case you’re visiting outside of the Great Walks season, ensure that you’re extra cautious and have some experience.

How To Reach Milford Track

  • Travelling to and fro from the walking track required boat access as well as road transport at both sides.
  • During the Great Walks season, you can reach the Glade Wharf by taking one of the scheduled boats (10:30 AM, 1 PM, 2 PM) or take a water taxi from Te Anau Downs.
  • It takes about an hour to reach the track. To reach Te Anau Downs, you can either drive 27km from Te Anau or take the bus. For experienced trampers, the Ellington Valley provides tramping access via the Dore Pass Route.
  • When you reach the end of the walk, take a 15-minute boat to Milford Sound village.
  • From Milford Sound, you can catch a bus to Queenstown, Te Anau, Te Anau Downs or The Divide, where the Routeburn Track starts.

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