The Milford Track

Follow the footsteps of early pioneers along 'the finest walk in the world' to the grand finale; Milford Sound.

5 days, 54 km (33.5 miles)Departs Daily Nov - Apr

From $1930 multishare - low season

Difficulty: Moderate

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Traversing the heart of New Zealand's wild fiord country, the Milford Track has long been described as "the finest walk in the world". Since Quintin Mackinnon pioneered the route in 1888, everyone from hardened trekkers to novices sporting their first pair of boots have taken up the challenge of the Milford Track.

The Fiordland National Park is the cornerstone of the Te Wahipounamu Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. Walkers on the track to Milford Sound enjoy close encounters with the native birdlife: the Robin; Kea; Weka; Fantail; Parakeet; Bellbird; even Kiwi have been spotted! They also experience Fiordland at its most spectacular: deep lakes; silent fiords; luxuriant forest and sheer canyons carved out of imposing granite define this landscape. On fine days there is a postcard shot around every corner but only when it rains and torrents of water cascade down the mountainsides have you truly experienced the magic of the Milford Track.

The Milford Track Guided Walk is a 5 day / 4 night Queenstown to Queenstown all-inclusive guided walk through the heart of Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. Our walks include transport, accommodation, meals, snacks, backpacks, rain jackets and a cruise on the walk's grand finale: the majestic Milford Sound.  Accommodation is in our well appointed wilderness lodges and you will be led by our expert guides.

Milford Track ProfileEnlarge image

History

The Milford Track has a rich history almost as long as that of New Zealand itself. Walking the track gives you a real sense of how it was in the early days of a young nation. Inspire yourself with the deeds of those who shaped our land.

Donald Sutherland, the first European resident of Milford Sound, discovered Sutherland Falls in 1880, adding to the Milford's reputation as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Sutherland started building a track up the Arthur Valley so visitors could be shown his falls. But access was limited by the rugged Fiordland coast and finding an overland route from the great lakes of the interior became an imperative.

In September 1888, Quintin Mackinnon and Ernest Mitchell set off to build a track up the Clinton Valley, at the northern end of Lake Te Anau. Persistent rain soaked them to the skin, saturated all available firewood and eventually caused a flood which washed their provisions away. After beating a retreat to Te Anau Downs for new supplies, they returned to the valley and on 16th October 1888, crossed a pass which lead to the Arthur Valley, Sutherland Falls and Milford Sound.

The pass was named in honour of Mackinnon and the first track was completed within two years. In 1890 it was a lengthy expedition to Milford Sound, it could take days to row up Lake Te Anau. Mackinnon, who was the first guide, did his best with kaka (a native parrot) and pigeon stew and his famous pompolonas (scones made from mutton fat candles). It was not uncommon to be hut bound by flooding for several days at a time and at the end of it all, you had to walk back the way you came.

The track was retained in Government control until 1992 when the licence to operate it was sold to Tourism Milford Ltd. In the past decade extensive time, effort and investment have gone into upgrading the facilities, providing a world class trekking venture.

From these humble beginnings to "the finest walk in the world", the Milford Track takes you on so much more than just a physical journey.

Quintin MackinnonEnlarge image

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"I can say now: the best track in the World! First day I met 50 people, last day I left 50 friends."Pizote67 (Trip Advisor), Italy

 
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