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 up to 103,733 square miles. However, the country boasts some of the best hiking trails in the world that are traversed by thousands of nature lovers every year. The Milford Track tops the list for its sheer beauty and variety of terrains 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 must be at the top of your checklist!
The Milford Trek starts from Glade House. This spot is 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 3,520 foot and this is the point from where you 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 appears at Milford Sound where you witness sky- high mountain peaks rising up to 5000 ft, and looking over still sparkling waters. Once you have 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 night 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. The spot derives its name from this fact and if you arrive too early, you can be a witness to it. You might have to take shelter amidst the trees to keep the flies away!
The other experience you will have while 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 a scenery carved with deep granite based canyons, silent lakes, and plush forests and you know what you are in for!
You can choose to take a Guided Walk or opt for an independent hike though this track. However, you would have to carry your own food, sleeping bag, utensils, and other necessary things if you choose to travel independently. Irrespective of whichever 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 in this trek.
Your guided trip operator will provide accommodation, meals, and transportation. Many of them also provide rain jackets and cruise at the end point, the majestic Milford Sound. The best season to take this walk is between the months of October and late April. For booking 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 to a spiritual, cultural, and historical tour of the region. The beauty and popularity of this walk was once made this as “the finest walk in the world”!
Written by Pam Vincent, Georgia, USA