Milford track - route description
Here you will find a description of the most popular track in New Zealand.
Day 1 - Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut, 5km (1 – 1 hour 30 minutes)
The day begins with a scenic cruise from Te Anau Downs to Glade Wharf across the lake and takes 1 hour 15 minutes.
The track continues through pretty beech forest along the beautiful Clinton River for approximately an hour before arriving at Clinton Hut.
There is a beautiful side trip Wetland Walkway (15 min return). You can do it with the DOC ranger ( we recommend not to miss any of the side walks).
When it is dark, guided tours with the ranger might be available (and if you are lucky) you might see some glow worms.
Day 2 - Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut, 16.5km (6 hours)
The track continues with a gradual climb to Lake Mintaro. After an hour the track crosses a huge valley, past the Hirere Falls you will
get the first glimpse of the MacKinnon Pass and the spectacular Pompolona Ice Field.
The track continues in beautiful beech forest until it reaches Prairie Lake sidetrail. It is a beutiful place and we recommend to walk it (as all other sidetrails in this track).
This is a good place to swim, since the water here are warmer than other lakes in the valley.
Here you can see great views toward Mt Fisher (1,878 m) and Mackinnon Pass.
The track ascends as it passes a side track to St Quintin Falls and continues to Mintaro hut. The weather in Fiorland is crazy and might not be very good the next day.
Therefore, if the weather is clear, it is recommended to continue to Mackinnon Pass (1154m) in order to see the breataking view. Don't take the chance, the weather might be bad tomorrow.
The Mackinnon Pass is the highest point in the track and one of the most spectacular ones.
The pass takes two hour climb from the hut and offers a spectacular scenery. Nearby you can find the famous toilet with the best view in Fiorland ;)
Note, this day has a long walk (16.5km) and an additional walk to Mackinnon Pass makes it even longer. Therefore, we recommend to start the walk as early as possible
Day 3, Mintaro Hut to Dumpling Hut, 14km (6-7 hours)
The track begins with climbing to Mackinnon Pass. At the highest point you will see snowcapped mountains, beautiful Clinton and Arthur Valley and Milford sound.
Just pray for a clear weather (if you didn’t climb to the pass yesterday).
The track continues downhill, crossing Mount Balloon and the Jervois Glacier. It then follows a boardwalk beside the Roaring Burn River along beautiful waterfalls.
A 1.30 hour return side walk will lead you to the impressive Sutherland Falls - the highest in New Zealand and chosen to be one of the most beautiful falls in the world!
It is very recommended.
Day 4, Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point, 18km (5 hr 30 min- 6 hr)
It’s better to start walking before 8 a.m. so that you will not have to rush to the boat back. The last day of Milford Track follows the Arthur River, pass the MacKay Falls and Lake Ada.
Then you will pass the Giant Gate falls, a good place to take a break. Afterwards, there is a 1.5 hour walk till Sandfly Point.
Boats depart from here to take walkers back to MIlford Sound every day (boats should be pre-booked and it is recommended to pre-book the lates boat so that you will not have to rush)
The name of the place Sandfly point is because it is heaven for sandflies. Don’t forget to wear mosquito repellent.
Your journey is not over here... It will continue on 20 minutes boat trip back when you will see the
dramatic snowcapped mountains and the amazing steep waterfalls drop straight into the sparkling blue water of the Milford sound.