The Milford track is one of the most beautiful hikes in the world and now we have done it we can see why!
The Milford track is nearly 54km and you spend 3 nights and 4 days on the track in the remote and beautiful Fiordland National Park. The trip starts with a beautiful boat ride across Lake Te Anau and finishes with another boat ride in the beautiful Milford sounds.
You walk through untouched New Zealand native bush, swim in the cold but clear rivers and waterfalls and enjoy snow caped mountains! Every moment of the hike is beautiful if you can ignore the pain in your feet. Fiordland is the wettest place in New Zealand but don’t let that put you off, the mist and the extra waterfalls as a result of the rain makes walking the Milford Track a truly magical experience.
We completed the hike the good old fashion way using the wonderful Department of Conservation (DCO) huts. There are 3 on the track and you can book them on the DOC website as a package, the 2016/17 season is $162pp for 3 nights. However, if you want to take advantage of this ‘cheaper’ option it is best to book way in advance (more than 6 months), even the day the booking site opens in July to secure your desired time slot for the upcoming season. If you do miss out there are private operators but expect to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars but I hear you get a glass of wine and a shower…
What to bring
- Warm clothes – we hiked the track in late December and it snowed on our last night;
- Waterproof clothes – Fiordland is the wettest places in NZ, so it is likely to rain;
- Warm waterproof jacket – The pass on the 3rd day is very exposed and if there is bad weather expect to be very cold;
- Swimming togs – It is cold but too beautiful not to swim;
- Sleeping bag – mattress are provided in the huts but a warm sleeping bag is a must;
- Food – carry all your own food for the 4 days 3 nights you can’t buy anything out there;
- Good shoes and socks – Hiking shoes are advised;
- Empty water bottle – You can drink from the streams.
What not to bring
- Water – You don’t need all your water, you can drink from the clear streams. Boiling water is advised to be on the safe side, although we only did this at night;
- Sleeping mat – the huts are equips with mattresses;
- Gas cooker – these are provided in the huts although it may come in useful if you want a hot food or tea during the day;
- Tent – You cannot camp on the track;
- Too many clothes – Limit what you carry so you don’t suffer.
What to expect
- The 1st day is very easy, only 5km to the first hut;
- The 3rd day is tough with a mountain pass crossing;
- The 4th day is also tough as there are set times the boat meets you, so you may have to be up early and walking fast;
- It is social, you will be in the huts with the same people every night so make some friends;
- There are glow worms! The ranger on the first night will tell you where;
- Naughty Kea’s, be careful of things left unattended, especially if they are shiny;
- You finish the hike in the wonderful Milford Sounds!
Make sure you book early to secure your spot on this magnificent hike. It really is a must do if you visit New Zealand. Please respect this beautiful environment and take all your rubbish with you.