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New Zealand hikesNew Zealand Milford Track Route Guide

Discover Milford Track, one of Fiordland National parks top destinations for tramping and hiking track adventures - the Milford Track, , finest walk ,Te Anau, New Zealand. Milford Track is located in the south-west of the South Island.  Milford Track starts at the head of Lake Te Anau and finishes in Milford Sound. 

Facts
One Way  
Time 3 nights - 4 days
From Glade Wharf, Lake Te Anau
To Sandfly Point, Milford Sound
Distance 4 days , 53.5km
Huts 3 Great Walks Huts
Grade Easy
Highest Point
1073m
Maps Map 260 D40 / C40 Milford
Map 260 D41 Eglinton
 
Route Guide Milford Track

Milford Track is approximately 53.5 km long and may be walked only one way. This Route Guide will describe the journey from Glade Wharf, Lake Te Anau to Sandfly Point, milford Sound.

Location
Distance
Times
Lake Wharf to Clinton Forks Hut
7 km
2 - 2.5 hours
Clinton Forks Hut to Mintaro Hut
13 km
3.5 - 4 hrs
Mintaro Hut via Mackinnon Pass to Dumpling Hut
13 km
6 hrs
Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point
18 km
5.5 - 6 hrs

 

Take 4 days and 3 nights for the Milford track walk. Milford track can only be walked from Te Anau Downs, Glade House to Sandfly Point. The most common pattern for walking the Milford Track is:

 

 
Glade House Lake Te Anau
Glade House Lake Te Anau
Clinton River Bridge
Clinton River Bridge
Beech Forest
Beech Forest
 
Lake Te Anau Glade Wharf (210 m)to Clinton Forks Hut (250 m)

Approx 7 km. Walking Time: 2 - 2.5 hours. *These are average walking times and include rest periods.

After a 30 km ( 2 hour) launch journey up Lake Te Anau, the Milford track starts quietly, following an old vehicle track up beside the Clinton River. From the Milford Track is 1 km to Glade House (THC), leads up the Clinton River and then 7 km to Clinton Forks Hut ( 40 bunks /gas /warden). Milford Track continues through the forest alongside the river to Clinton Forks Hut. The lower reaches of the Clinton River are full of trout, but remember to buy a licence in Te Anau beforehand. Milford Track ambles through beech forest with one good view towards Dore Pass.

Hut: Clinton Forks Hut, 40 bunks

 
Clinton Forks Hut
Clinton Forks Hut
Milford Track Day 1
Milford Track Day 1
Clinton River Valley
Clinton River Valley
 

 

Clinton Forks Hut to Mintaro Hut
Approx 13 km. Walking Time: 3.5 - 4 hours

Beyond Clinton Forks the Milford Track turns inland up the west branch of the Clinton River towards the mountain. Milford Track potters through silver beech forest for 4 km to the old Six Mile Hut, used in packhorse days. Milford Track cuts a wide swathe through beech forest, passing through a clearin. It's 2 km to the Prairies, the first open grasslands on the Milford Track, with a tantalising distant view of MacKinnon Pass . A side -track goes to Hidden Lake, a good lunch spot and a place for brisk, revitalising swimming. It is 3 km further to Bus Stop Shelter and Marlene's Creek, which floods badly in wet weather. Past the Pompolona Hut (named after Mackinnon's 'pompolonas', a treat of scones fried in mutton fat) the valley walls loom oppressively above the track as it crosses many old avalanche paths on its steady 210m climb over 3.5km to Mintaro Hut, where there are good views and a side-track to St Quintin Falls. Lake Mintaro is a blue gem, reflecting at various angles the bush and mountain surroundings. Lake Mintaro Hut is the standard 40-bunk model.

Hut: Lake Mintaro Hut, 40 bunks

 
Routeburn Flats Hut
Kea 1987
Lake Mintaro
Lake Mintaro
Swing Bridge
Swing Bridge
 

 

Mintaro Hut via MacKinnon Pass to Dumpling Hut
Approx. 13 km. Walking time: 6 hours

Above the Hut the Milford Track climbs to the head of the valley, crosses the Clinton River. One Kilometre up through the last of the Alpine Bush the Milford track lazily zigzags 360m up over 3 km to the narrow rock ridge that is known as MacKinnon Pass. On top there is a scatter of tarns and a 4 m high memorial to Quinton MacKinnon, who discovered the pass. There are superb views down both valleys, with an even better outlook as you climb towards the emergency shelter ( gas /bunks) and the romantic shape of Mountain Balloon. ( Note: if you get to Mintaro Hut the evening before and the weather is fine, it's not a bad idea to take advantage of it to walk up in the afternoon / evening to MacKinnon Pass. Take a torch, and tell the warden. The evening light can be memorable, and you might avoid disappointment the next day if the cloud comes down).

In clear conditions the views from the MacKinnon Pass are superb. Descend gradually off the pass for 20 minutes. Then the Milford Track takes a steeper dive crossing the Roaring Burn and sidling and dropping more easily, a tiring drop in altititude of over 800 m in 7 km. The Milford Track curves off the pass down to the THC Quinton Huts.

Don't miss the Sutherland Falls, or as the Maori called them, Te Tautea (The White Thread). Sutherland Falls are the third highest int he world and this 90 minute return trip is highly recommended. There is a day shelter at Quintin for freedom walkers to drop their packs and take the side-track (1.5 hours return) to the bases of these 580m Sutherland Falls.

 
Sutherland Falls
Southerland Falls
Bowen Falls
Bowen Falls
Stirling Falls
Stirling Falls
 

You can wonder at the redoubtable William Quill, who made a hair-raising ascent beside the falls to reach the feeder lake that bears his name. In any weather this waterfall is a tremendous sight. It takes its name from Donald Sutherland, 'the hermit of Milford', an eccentric adventurer who lived his own at Milford Sound for several years. Downstream from Quintin Hut the Milford Track ambles 3 km to Dumpling Hut, the final night's stay on the Milford Track.

Hut: Dumpling Hut, 40 bunk

 

 
Arthur Valley
Arthur Valley
Arthur River
Arthur River
Sutherland Falls Track
Sutherland Falls Track
 
Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point
Approx. 18 km. Walking time: 5.5 to 6 hours

From Dumpling Hut, the next 18 km out to Sandfly Point has to be covered in a quickish day if you are planning to catch the 3pm bus back to Te Anau in the afternoon. Milford launch leaves at 2pm, so you will have to leave early. Another launch leaves at 4pm for those staying at Milford Sound. The hut warden will want to know which launch you plan to take.

Leaving early, the confusion of Dumpling Hut behind you, you follow the Milford Track as it closes on the Arthur River and after 6 km reaches the THC boatshed, then crosses the Arthur on a long swingbridge. Shortly over MacKay Creek there's a side-track to the bursting MacKay Falls and the unusually eroded Bell Rock. The Milford Track follows the river closely now, crossing side-streams and climbing onto a rock shoulder with good views before easing down to Giant Gate Falls.

There is shelter here, and a fine lunch and swimming spot where the sandflies are more manageable than at Sandfly Point. It might be more sensible to wait here and give yourself an hour and a half to wander down the last 6 km to the jetty, where you should not have to be nibbled for long.

Slipping out into Milford Sound on the launch beneath the awesome shining circle of peaks gives a satisfying crowning touch to the walk, perhaps the 'finest in the world' after all?

 
Boat House Milford Track
Boat House
Arthur Valley
Arthur Valley
Mitre Peak Milford Track
Mitre Peak
 
 
More>> Milford Track Photos
 
Related
 

Further Information

Department of Conservation

Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, Lakefront Drive, Te Anau
Phone: (03) 249 8514 or (03) 249 7924
Email: greatwalksbooking@doc.govt.nz or fiordlandvc@doc.govt.nz
Web: www.doc.govt.nz

 

 

 

 

 
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