The Milford Track - The Best Walk in the World

The 5-day/4-night Milford Track is one of the first-established and best-known walking tracks in the country. It takes in glacial peaks,a mountain pass, New Zealand’s highest waterfall and the dense rainforest of Fiordland. You’ll have four days of exercise, good food and great scenery as you walk 33 miles (53km) from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound. Because you’re doing the guided walk, you’ll just be carrying a few essentials and a packed lunch each day, so your pack won’t be much heavier than what you’d bring on a regular day hike. Everything else is provided, including excellent meals at the lodges and on the trail, hot showers, bedding, specialist Milford Track guides, and even hairdryers in the rooms! For the first three nights, you’ll stay in comfortable mountain lodges, in four and six-bed bunk rooms with shared bathroom facilities. If you prefer your own bedroom and bathroom, contact us for the latest private room rates. On the fourth night, you’ll stay at Mitre Peak Lodge, an exclusive hotel for Milford Track Guided Walk hikers.

Track Details: This is a 5 Day 55 Kms / 34.8 miles Track difficulty: Moderate.

Day 7 (Sunday) Boat ride and short hike

The adventure begins in Queenstown where you board a coach to Te Anau, arriving in time for lunch and a group photo. From Te Anau Downs harbour, a launch takes up to the head of Lake Te Anau. From the wharf it's a short walk to the historic Glade House for afternoon tea. Afterwards the guides take you on a short nature walk to explore the area. After a hot shower and three-course meal it time to retire.

20 minutes / 1.6km ( 1 mile )

Day 8 (Monday) Glade House to Pompolona Lodge

Cross the emerald green Clinton River by swingbridge then up the Clinton Valley, and on to the Hirere Falls lunch shelter. Check out Mackinnon's original hut site, a detour known as the wetland walk and 'the big tree'.

After lunch the Beech forest gets more luxuriant the further you go and the valley walls climb steeper and higher. On sunny days the swimming hole is a cool but refreshing haven!

From here it's onto the Prairie, an open meadow where you can capture the true nature of the ice carved Clinton Canyon. Named the Valley of the Perpendicular by the early pioneers. It is easy to see why as the rock walls tower up to 4000 feet above you. It is a short climb to Pompolona Lodge from here for your second night on the Milford Track.

5 - 7 hours, 16km (10 miles )

Day 9 (Tuesday) Hike McKinnon Pass

The most challenging day, but also the most rewarding. After an early start the track leads toward the head of the Clinton Valley.

As you begin your climb the 3 leaps of St Quintin Falls can be seen and Mt Balloon rears into view, onto the Practice Hill and Lake Mintaro. From here you climb a series of zig zags as the valley floor drops away beneath your feet.

At the top is Mackinnon's memorial cairn. Look out from 12 second drop to the Arthur Valley beneath you. After lunch in Pass Hut the track takes you down a long downhill section to Quintin Lodge. On the rocky descent you will pass towering rock cliffs, glacial streams, moss covered forest, a cascading waterfall section and have your first view of Sutherland Falls.

Take the 1.5 hour round trip to the mighty Sutherland Falls , fifth highest on the planet at 1904 feet / 540 metres. Take your jacket and dare to walk right in behind the falls, a once in a lifetime experience!

Walking 6 - 8 hours, 15 km ( 9 miles )

Day 10 (Wednesday) Hike to Milford Sound

Follow the Arthur River as it makes it's way to Milford Sound. Walk through deep luxuriant beech forest, a final view of Sutherland Falls, glimpses of Diamond Creek and Danger Mountain can be seen before arriving at Boatshed for morning tea.

From here cross the river by swingbridge and carry on to MacKay Falls and Bell Rock. As you near the 30 mile peg you may hear the steady roar of Giant's Gate Falls, your lunch spot.

The final stretch of the track follows tranquil Lake Ada to Sandfly Point where the Maori goddess Te Hine-nui-te-po released the sandfly to stop men lingering too long in the beauty of Fiordland. From here you catch the launch to Milford Sound and Mitre Peak Lodge, where you will enjoy a celebratory dinner.

Walking 6 to 8 hours, 21 km ( 13 miles )

Day 11 (Thursday) Milford Sound cruise, Te Anau, Queenstown

After breakfast embark on your Milford Sound cruise. Out on the Fiord, you realise the grandeur of the surrounding mountains, the centrepiece being Mitre Peak, rising vertically over one mile from the water line. The Fiord is a marine reserve and a haven for many marine animals including Southern Fur Seals, Bottlenose and Dusky Dolphins and sometimes Fiordland Crested Penguin, which come into the fiord to mate and raise their young.

Milford’s reputation as being one of the wettest places on earth is not unfounded. But don’t be fooled into thinking you have to see it in fine weather, as Rudyard Kipling described it as the eighth wonder of the world, in rain!

On returning to the wharf, board your coach and climb your way out from Milford Sound and on to Queenstown via Te Anau (arriving at approx 4.15pm), completing your journey of the "finest walk in the world."


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