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“Awesome hike with amazing scenery” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Milford Track

Milford Track
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Full-Day Routeburn Track Key Summit Guided Walk from Te Anau
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Great Walks season is October - April. Outside this period facilities are greatly reduced and there are additional safety hazards to consider. Always check the website for changes that might affect your trip. See website for the price of accommodation on this track.
Port Douglas, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Awesome hike with amazing scenery”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 18, 2013

The Milford track was awesome. Went in as an independent tramper, making reservations online with DOC. The track is maintained to a high standard and there is very little chance of getting lost. You will see some beautiful scenery, amazing waterfalls and cheeky and tame bird life.

I personally found the walk a lot easier than I had anticipated, and the first two days of hiking are pretty straight forward. The third day of the hike would probably be the best, the view from the top of the McKinnon Pass is breathtaking and we were lucky to have decent weather while we were up there.

The huts are fairly comfortable, however snoring in the bunk rooms can be pretty loud so maybe bring a pair of ear plugs or take your iPod and also ensure that you have some decent insect repellent as in some spots the sandflies are evil .

The area gets a lot of rain and changeable weather so be sure that you are prepared, have decent water proof clothing and that you double bag or pack all your gear into dry bags.

Also when we walked the track there was that much rain, that we were unsure if we would have to stay an extra night on the track, so it would be a wise idea to take an extra days food, in case such a situation arises.

Loved this experience and would definitely recommend.

Visited January 2013
9 Thank KattPD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Greenvale, Australia
Level Contributor
83 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
“extraordinary but make sure you are well prepared”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 4, 2013

You can check out any of the other 90 reviews for a day by day breakdown of the track but below are some points and tips that i personally would have found useful before embarking that i found out only through doing the hike

1- personally i found it MUCH easier then i expected. in total over the 3-4 days i only walked for 12 hours and pretty much cut the suggested times in half. i also do some photography work and those times included spending A LOT of time taking photos as i walked. That said i am only 30 and pretty fit, but there was everyone on my departure date from grand parents over 80 to kids well under 10. Most people used the allotted times and some of the older ones used slightly over the times but if you are young and moderately fit this is relatively easy walk

2- the trail is soooo well maintained that for much of the walk you can push a wheelchair down it. over the pass and for parts of the last day it is harder work on your ankles but there is VERY little chance of getting lost and if you are careful you shouldn't twist your ankles. we came down the emergency route due to rain and that was much harder for the oldies, but still better maintained then many tracks i have down around the world

3- RAIN!!!! it rains 8 days of 10 for the year, there is also snow, wind and sleet. If you do the track with no rain you almost cant say that you did the track, coz that is NOT NORMAL!!!! before you go and start packing you need to accept the fact that it will probably rain. Embrace it coz it great. i walked past dozens of grumpy and sad, miserable people on 2 of my 3 days while it was literally bucketing rain and honestly my cheeks hurt from smiling so much from jumping in puddles. if you go in expecting it, prepared for it with the right attitude for it then you will really enjoy it! and it makes amazing waterfalls everywhere

4- there are gas cookers but no pots, pans, cutlery etc. the sleeping huts are comfy enough and have matresses but get a little cold at night, there are fireplaces that you can use to dry your clothes in the huts and after a heavy rainy day all 40 of us were generally able to dry out before the next day started

5- food- firstly make sure that you pack at least one more days worth of food as sometimes weather means that you are stuck for an extra day or so, but otherwise, i wish i had of packed an extra kg and brought good food and not freeze dried meals.

6- baggage size. myself and an irish girl i met on the track had the smallest bags by a very long way and i honestly think we were still the best prepared. i had a 40L bag weighing about 11kg including my high level camera (prob 9 without it) and hers was smaller still. most people had 80L and above and well over 18kgs. but take special note of the next point

7- many people got VERY VERY wet. bags got saturated, clothes, sleeping bags, food etc and many of them were therefore very uncomfortable. as long as you double bag everything, in small individual bags so if it leaks only 1-2 things get wet, then you will be fine. Make sure you have something dry and warm to change into at the huts and your day clothes and jackets will dry out by the fire. DO NOT WEAR DENIM! also a pair of flip flops are great for the huts coz you are not allowed to wear your boots inside.

8- other stuff- sand flies are evil so take good spray not the roll on stuff as you always miss spots. snoring in bunks rooms can be pretty loud. bathrooms always require walking outside, speaking of which, there are bathrooms every 3 mile or so along the track. take a book or a deck of cards for the night times. Merino shirts etc are extraordinary. they are slightly more expensive but you wont regret it. take lots of socks. i wear 2 pairs at once to stop blisters, a very thin light sock first and a thick warm hiking sock over that. given the rain we had it must work coz i was almost the only one NOT to get blisters and i spent most of my time jumping in the puddles.

thats about it. enjoy! it is a great walk, def the most beautiful one i have done. dont be surprised if you dont get a view from the pass as most people dont but dont let that stop you from going coz it is amazing. i'm heading back next year with my parents to do it again!

Visited April 2013
51 Thank TrysE4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tecoma, Australia
Level Contributor
63 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Breathtaking scenery”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 14, 2013

We completed the hike in 2009, so my review may be a little out of date.
It is best to be like a Scout and "Be prepared" for the Milford Track. We trained for several months before the hike, and even then I was quite tired on the last day. My now husband and I completed the hike as Independent walkers, but often saw the lucky guided hikers out there with us. They got to have showers and hot chocolate, but also had to pay quite a large sum for the luxury.
The first two days of the hike are fairly straight forward, following the river through the valley. The huts were pretty comfortable, but it was cold even in the middle of January.
Day 3 is definitely the best day of the hike. This is when you hike up and up to McKinnon Pass and back down the other side. The view from the top is nothing short of breathtaking. We were extremely lucky to have perfect weather for the entire hike, and got to see the view from the top in all of it's glory. I could have stayed up there for ages, but it was a tad windy! We did the side trip to Sutherland Falls, the highest waterfall in NZ.
The final day is the longest, and I felt it was the hardest, as we had the deadline of catching the ferry. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time! However, when you reach the end the feeling of dipping your toes in Milford Sound is sublime, and the sense of accomplishment make the whole thing worth it.

Visited May 2012
4 Thank ElizabethS2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Don't do it like I did!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

The Milford Track - wow! I set myself a hard task there but very rewarding. It's a great way to lose weight! Stunning scenery, beautiful waterfalls, tame and unusual birds, gloworms by night and an idyllic end to the track. Just make sure you are fit before you go and especially make sure you're used to carrying a heavy pack - depending of course on how much you carry.
Take painkillers and padding - or squeeze some rolled up socks under your rucksack shoulder straps.

I went as an "independent tramper" having made my reservations on-line with the NZ DOC office.I got in last minute on a cancellation. These seem to come up quite frequently so keep checking!

Day 1 was easy - a doddle. Starts with a nice stable boat ride from Te Anau Downs. You only walk for 90 minutes and then settle in to Clinton hut, fight for space at the gas ring, cook your dinner, wash up and then socialise before bed. Don't carry too much food and remember you must carry out all materials you carry in including your rubbish.Some trampers took wine and steaks much to the envy of those of us on dehydrated mince and instant potato! I'd do the same next time though - nothing like a bit of luxury after a hard day's walking.

In the evening you can join in the nature walk and talk then bump into fellow trampers in the darkness of the forest as you seek out gloworms in a grotto close by the river. Take a head torch and spare batteries! I can't remember the name of the ranger that presented to us but without exception all rangers at the huts are close to nature and lovely people.

Snoring - oh the snoring - it reverberates around the dorms - sleep with ear plugs or better still stick your iPOD on with some pleasant sound to drown out the rumble! The noise was so bad one of our guests moved her bed into the kitchen block. Dorms and toilet facilities are all mixed by the way! All to a very decent standard though. No hot water - this is the wilderness after all.

Day 2 - walk to Mintaro Hut. This stretch is predominantly through forest though it eventually opens out into some impressive scenery, a hidden lake in which you can swim (if you're a seal) and the crystal clear Clinton River which has an inviting bluish, turquoise tinge if you can brave the temperature. The odd Weka will pop out to greet you on the trail, Robins will peck your feet and Fantails will flutter around you but only to catch the sandflies that are now biting you because you were daft enough to stand still and watch the birds! Take repellent! You have been warned. By the end of this day I was in extreme pain from my pack. I slept like a log whilst contemplating whether I should ask for a chopper to airlift me out the next day - after all how was I going to climb up to 1154 metres given how difficult lugging this pack around had been.

Day 3 - the best day of all for me. Starts with a climb up the McKinnon pass - to amazing views. Look at my pics. There was an inversion as we emerged from the clouds. Here you will envy the Guided Walkers who will be there sipping hot tea that was carried for them. Take your own flask and make yourself a brew before you leave Mintaro hut. The summit is one place you will appreciate a cuppa more than any other place on the trail - unless you end up walking flooded trails down below of course. Warning: Be prepared to wade up to your waist or even chest in water - I didn't have to but many walkers have had to as river levels rise dramatically and quickly when the rain comes down. Think about carrying sufficient changes of clothes!
This stretch is so pretty - you will pass stunning waterfalls on your way to Dumpling Hut. Keas also "operate in the area". At Dumpling Hut is a beautiful swimming hole - leap in and when you come out, sandflies will be waiting to dry you off. If like me, you wont want to complete the trail without having bathed in the river - especially after three days of sweating - it'll be welcome refreshment.

Day 4 - to Sandfly Point. This last stretch is reputed to take 6 hours - provided you march that is. I did it in 6 hours flat but only because I left the hut at 5:45am in darkness and maintained a constant pace. Along this stretch are more falls. You'll simply be amazed.They are the kind of falls you'd imagine fairies to be bathing in when you're not watching - not that I imagine fairies you understand. I did see two Possums along the trail which I caught in the light of my head torch. I got to Sandfly point early and being all alone I was in my element, laying there on the wharf enjoying the sunshine. It was 90 minutes or so before anyone caught me up although I did pass some day trampers coming in the other direction. I'd recommend the day walk if you can't do the four days. It covers some of the best parts of the track.

I was paranoid about missing the boat as I had to get to Milford, get the bus and then pick up my car and drive 460 miles back to Christchurch to catch my flight the next morning. As it was I got the 2pm boat and made it to Christchurch by 2am in the morning!

My advice is to leave yourself time to explore Milford Sound. I had to leave it all behind which made my heart sink - the scenery is incredible. I will return!

Finally one point of note. A significant percentage of this walk is through forest. At times I began to think I don't want to look at another tree but other trampers felt that this was one of the attractions. I like scenery and am used to walking in the Italian Dolomites and English Lake Districts which are much more open and varied in my experience. There is no doubt you'll love this walk but compare pics with the Routeburn (have I spelt that right?) Track which others recommended to me.

Visited March 2013
22 Thank TonyHammond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
40 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A great walk in the 1972, equally so in 2013.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2013

As a repeat Freedom Walker I enjoyed the 33.5m walk both times. It is a fabulous walk in awesome scenery.

The 2013 hut wardens - Ross at Clinton, Catie at Mintaro and Ian at Dumpling Hut - provided valuable evening talks about hut rules, flora and fauna, and what to expect next day on the track.


Know the names of the rivers and some mountains before you start the journey.

If you want to do the walk as a Freedom Walker, book months ahead with DOC.

If you want to walk it with the guided walk you don't need to book so far ahead with Ultimate Hikes.

Use trail sticks if you have short legs which negotiate high steps with difficulty.

Have a swim at Prairie Lake.

On the last day it is supposed to take 6 hours to walk from Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point to catch the boat. My family group took 8 hours, therefore leave the hut as early as possible to make the boat connection.

4 Thank Arkense
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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