Milford track - route description
The Milford track (often called "milford sound track") is one of the most popular treks in NZ. Here you will find its description and tips for each day. Due to high popularity, milford track bookings are not easy, but once you do book, here is what to expect... :)
Day 1 - Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut, 5km (1 – 1 hour 30 minutes)
Milford track map
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 beach 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). We recommend not to miss any of the side walks. When it is dark, guided tours with the DOC 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 through an amazing forest until it reaches Prairie Lake sidetrail. It is a beautiful place and we recommend walking 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 the Mackinnon Pass.
The track ascends as it passes a side track to St Quintin Falls and continues to Mintaro hut. The milford track weather is crazy and might not be as good on the following day (you can check in weather forecast milford sound via the metservice website
). 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, 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 the 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 origin of the name "Sandfly point" is simply because it is heaven-for-sandflies (and a hell-for-humans). Don’t forget to bring good mosquito repellent.
But, your journey is not over here...Sandfly point to milford sound (20 min boat trip)
The 20-min boat trip will take you back through the Milford sound, where you will see the dramatic snowcapped mountains and the amazing steep waterfalls drop straight into the sparkling blue water of the and the cliffs of the Milford sound.
The milford sound trek is one of the most popular treks in New Zealand and you will enjoy it!