Hiking the Milford Track – An Experience of a Lifetime!
What is your idea of a walk that fills your heart with incomparable happiness, peace, and tranquility? If you enjoy walking through picturesque mountains, gushing waterfalls, and beautiful open valleys, then try a New Zealand hiking tour. This island nation is blessed with some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes and is known for its natural beauty. The total area of New Zealand’s land measures only 103,733 square miles. However, the country boasts some of the best hiking trails in the world, traversed by thousands of nature lovers every year. The Milford Track tops the list for its sheer beauty and variety of terrain that you walk while hiking this trail. Hence, if you are up for a real pleasure walk amidst the beauties of nature, hiking the Milford Track should be at the top of your list!
The Milford Track starts from Glade House, situated at the north of Lake Te Anau. Starting from this point, you walk past the Clinton River, the beech groves, lush green vast meadows, and cascading waterfalls to reach the MacKinnon Pass. The altitude of this point scales up to 3,786ft (1154m) and this is the point from which you’ll start your descent. While descending you pass through dense rainforests full of fern trees with glowworms glittering around you, punctuating the darkness of the nights. Your final destination is Milford Sound, where you witness sky-high mountain peaks rising up to 5000ft (1524m), and looking out over still waters. Once you’ve had a glimpse of this view, you will know why explorers have been hiking the Milford Track for years!
Hiking the Milford Track takes around five days. Independent hikers can use huts with communal bunks for overnight stops. The locals say that if you can plan your arrival at the Sandfly Point (the terminus for boats) appropriately then you can avoid the sand flies that swarm this place.
Another experience you can expect whilst hiking the Milford Track is an encounter with the native birdlife. A variety of species such as the parakeet, robin, fantail, kea, and kiwis will be your companions on this track. Combine their company with scenery carved with deep granite based canyons, silent lakes, and plush forests and you get an idea of what you can expect.
You can choose to take a guided walk or opt for an independent hike though this track. However, if you choose to go independently you’ll need to carry your sleeping bag, utensils, and other necessary things. Irrespective of the option you choose, it is recommended to book your trips well in advance to ensure availability since the number of trekkers allowed per day is limited. Remember camping is not allowed on this track
Your guided trip operator will provide accommodation, meals, and transportation. Many of them also provide rain jackets and a cruise at the end point, on the majestic Milford Sound. The best season to take this walk is between the months of October and late April. In order to book your trip, you must contact Department of Conservation. The first step towards this wonderful walk is would be to browse through the websites and go through the detailed information very carefully. You will find everything you need to know about this walk, and how to go about the bookings, what to carry, when to travel, and other relevant information.
Hiking the Milford Track goes beyond the physical journey and takes you on a spiritual, cultural, and historical tour of the region. The beauty and popularity of this walk is what has helped christen it “the finest walk in the world”.
Written by Pam Vincent, Georgia, USA
Where do I start?! New Zealand had been number one on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and it didn’t disappoint. Don’t wait another moment, if New Zealand is the dream, find a way! The ‘Manuka’ trip was beyond any expectations I could have dreamed of! Yes it was physical, but our amazing guides Claire and Jess kept me going and the accomplishment and the views were always worth it. I have memories that will last a lifetime, best money I have EVER spent. Trust me, don’t wait! Go!
June Vidrine, Active Adventures New Zealand ‘Manuka’ trip, March 2017