The Milford Track is New Zealand's most well-known hike, and people travel from around the world to experience it. If you have ever considered walking the Milford Track, our all-inclusive guide addresses your questions, from bookings to packing, assisting you in making this remarkable journey your own.
So, grab a cup of your favourite drink, and prepare to be inspired for your upcoming adventure!
Distance: 53.5 km one way
- Duration: 4 days
- Difficulty: Intermediate: Great Walk/Easier tramping track
- Direction: Can only be walked in one direction over 3 nights and 4 days.
- Seasonal Restrictions:
- Great Walks Season: 24 October 2023 – 30 April 2024 (Last departure 28 April 2024). Best time to walk; more facilities and fewer hazards. Bookings required.
- Off-Season: 1 May 2023 – 23 October 2023. Only for fit, experienced, and well-equipped people; reduced facilities and
additional winter hazards.
Milford Track Questions Answered
The Milford Track is a moderately challenging hike, suitable for those with a reasonable level of fitness. While the trail is well-marked and maintained, you will encounter varying terrains, including flat paths, steep ascents, and alpine walkways. Additionally, you will be carrying your backpack with gear, which can typically weigh 15-20 kilograms.
The trail is approximately 53.5 km (33.2 miles) in distance, covered over four days, with each segment ranging from 5 km to 18km.
The actual Milford Track trailhead is at Glade Wharf, accessible only by boat from Te Anau Downs. Often, your trip will begin and end in either Te Anau or Queenstown, as there are more secure options for parking your car and leaving excess gear here. From Te Anau or Queenstown, you would take a bus to Te Anau Downs and then board the boat to the start of the Milford Track at Glade Wharf.
Key items include:
- - 3-4 Season sleeping bag
- - Sturdy hiking boots
- - Multi-layered clothing - wool and polypropylene is best
- - Rain gear & waterproof pack liner
- - First Aid Kit & lighter/matches
- - Sufficient food, water bottle & cooking utensils
- - Torch
- - Sunscreen & sandfly repellent
For a comprehensive list of recommended gear to take, see DOC's 'what to take on the Milford Track' website.
Booking periods can vary but typically open a few months before the hiking season commences. The Department of Conservation's website is the best resource for accurate and up-to-date information.
Due to its popularity, it's advisable to be prepared and book as soon as the Milford Track bookings open, as the huts fill up quickly.
Booking your adventure on the Milford Track is a straightforward process but needs to be done well in advance due to high demand. All bookings are managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
For convenience, definitely use Tracknet Transport, which offers transportation and packages to the Milford Track from both Te Anau and Queenstown. Their reliable and timely services allow you to focus on the adventure that awaits you.
Places to Stay on the Milford Track:
- Clinton Hut
- Mintaro Hut
- Dumpling Hut
These huts offer basic amenities such as bunks and mattresses, heating, toilets, basic cooking facilities, solar-powered lighting, and cold running water. Camping is not allowed on the Milford Track.
Day 1: Clinton Hut: After your first segment, you'll stay at Clinton Hut, which is a leisurely walk from Glade Wharf.
Day 2: Mintaro Hut: On the second day, you'll stay at Mintaro Hut after ascending the Clinton Valley.
Day 3: Dumpling Hut: The third day takes you through Omanui/McKinnon Pass to Dumpling Hut.
Guided walks are available and include additional amenities like cooked meals, showers and comfortable sleeping arrangements.
The Milford Track is unquestionably worth it to experience New Zealand's pristine wilderness and captivating landscapes, not to mention the sense of accomplishment it offers hikers. You'll always remember this once-in-a-lifetime hike for the incredible scenery and the people you'll meet along the track.
Conclusion: How hard is the Milford Track?
The Milford Track offers an adventure of moderate difficulty but pays off with awe-inspiring landscapes and a huge sense of achievement. Whether you're a solo trekker or opting for a guided experience, proper planning is essential for making the most of this journey of a lifetime. So pack your bags, make your bookings, and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Milford Track!
Where Can I Stay Before and After Walking Milford Track?
Te Anau Lakeview Holiday Park offers a range of options, from simple campsites to luxurious motels, so you'll find something that suits your preference and budget.
What Else Can I Do in Te Anau?
If you want to explore more of Fiordland, how about a Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise on board the Southern Secret?
Or, if you prefer a more hands-on adventure, you can opt for a Doubtful Sound kayak adventure. If this interests you, go to Doubtful Sound Kayak to learn more.