Trek Notes - New Zealand

Milford Track Guided Walk

Milford Track Guided Walk

The Milford Track is the ideal way to experience New Zealand's enchanting forest and inspiring peaks, the advent of guided walking has made these areas accessible to a great number of people who otherwise may have missed out.  It is important to remember, however, that the track is in a remote wilderness area.  While our lodges have been been designed for your comfort we are still without a number of modern amenities such as telephones, faxes and email.  Mobile phones do not work on the track so save yourself the extra weight. We have radio contact in case of emergency but otherwise you will be cut off from the rest of the world for a few days.

All our lodges have toilets, as do our lunch shelters.

All walkers on the Milford Track multi day walks will need to attend a pre-track briefing at our Queenstown office the day before the track departure at 4.00pm (check in time is 3.45pm)

Day 1: Queenstown or Te Anau to Glade house (1.6 km. 20 min. walking)
Your adventure begins at our Queenstown office at 9.00am where you catch a coach to Te Anau, arriving in time for a light lunch and a group photo.  After lunch we drive to Te Anau Downs boat harbour, where a launch waits to take us up to the spectacular northern end of Lake Te Anau.  From the wharf it is a short walk to historic Glade House, our first lodge, for a hot shower, a delicious 3-course meal and comfortable bed.
Day 2: Glade House to Pompolona (16 km. 5-7 hours walking)
Leave Glade House and cross the emerald green Clinton River by swingbridge.  You make your way up the Clinton Valley, being sure to stop and take it all in as you walk to the Hirere Falls lunch shelter.  Your guides will point out Mackinnon's original hut site, a detour known as the wetland walk, 'the big tree' and other points of interest.
After lunch the Beech forest gets more luxuriant the further you go and the valley walls climb steeper and higher. On sunny days follow your guides into the swimming hole, cool but very refreshing! 
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 and 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.
Day 3: Pompolona to Quentin Via Mackinnon pass (15 kms. 6-8 hrs walking)
This is the most demanding day, especially in inclement weather. The track leads to Lake Mintaro at the head of the Clinton Valley, before climbing the Mackinnon Pass in a series of zigzags. Take your time. At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular view and lunch in Pass Hut. After the rocky descent into the Arthur Valley you will welcome a hot cup of tea at Quinton Lodge, this should be enough to refresh you for the 90 min round trip of the Sutherland Falls, the worlds fifth highest waterfall.
Day 4: Quentin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge (21 kms. 6-8 hours walking)
Your final day on the Milford Track. 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. Linger here and savour this unearthly beauty. Follow the track and 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. Relax with the knowledge that the hard part is now behind you while the magnifiicence of Milford Sound spreads before you.
Day 5: Mitre Peak Lodge to Te Anau and Queenstown (No walking.)
Wake to views of Milford Sound and after breakfast board one of the Real Journey's Boats for a cruise on Milford Sound. Watch for dolphins and fur seals and pray for rain. The waterfalls are incredible. Following the cruise you start your spectacular journey through the heart of Fiordland National Park to the Homer Tunnel and on to Te Anau and Queenstown via Queenstown Airport, arriving at approx 4.00 pm

4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners  

Early bookings essential.

A Wondrous Adventure-And Some Questions You May Be Wondering
How fit do I need to be?  
The Milford Track is neither easy nor difficult. It is a challenge which people of all ages and abilities will relish. To enjoy your walk you need to be able to carry a medium sized backpack containing your personal belongings and a sleeping sheet, which we provide, for 6-8 hours over 15-21kms (9-13 miles) of mountain tracks each day. We encourage you to walk at your own pace. There is not pressure to walk with the others or keep pace with the fastest walkers. There is always a guide at the rear of the party.  

The track surfaces vary from smooth well formed paths to rough terrain broken by rocks and tree roots. There are steep rocky downhill sections and you may have to ford small streams and wade in deep water after heavy rain. We recommend you wear hiking boots, which provide firm ankle support. If you are not a regular walker we suggest you begin a daily walking regime 6-8 weeks before departure. Gradually increase the distance you walk, carrying a backpack and staircase or hill climbing will leave you even better prepared for your challenge.

How fast do we walk on the Track?  
You set your own pace. Trekkers usually travel in small groups, with one guide bringing up the rear. There is no pressure to keep up with the fast walkers. The walking usually takes between 6 and 8 hours per day.  

What are the Track's Lodges like?  
Warm and welcoming, with plenty of room to relax. Hot showers, drying rooms for clothes, hair dryers & flush toilets. Lodge staff prepare hearty farm-style meals - Eat all you want,and New Zealand wine is served with the meals. You are welcome to provide your own liquid refreshments if you want a night cap before sinking into your comfortable bunk bed. Warm duvets and pillows are provided, as are hot water bottles for that little extra warmth. 

What assistance can I expect from our guides?  
Expert direction, plus an explanation of scenery highlights, flora and fauna, history - both as you walk and in evening discussions. The guides also help prepare tea breaks. They will attend to first aid if you need this. Radio links at all times between guides, lodges and Track Headquarters.

Do I need cash and credit cards on the Track?  
It's a good idea to bring cash and a credit card to purchase small souvenirs at lodges, drinks and gifts at Milford Sound, optional flightseeing at Quintin Lodge or Milford Sound.  

Can I fish whilst on the Track?  
Yes, you can fish for trout from the Boatshed on Lake Ada, at extra cost. Check with the Milford Track Office on arrival in Te Anau.

What sort of weather is likely?  
Fiordland's climate features a high annual rainfall. There may be heavy rain or mist during your walk, but don't worry - it's quite safe and adds to the adventure. Drying rooms are the answer to wet clothes. But hot and sunny days are just as likely.

Should I have insurance?  
We suggest you take out comprehensive travel insurance. This is a normal precaution and does not reflect any likelihood of insecurity on the Milford Track.

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