Make sure you know all the fine details.
It is essential that you attend a pre-track briefing on the day prior to the walk departure. This briefing is compulsory to attend as you will receive the following:
- A complete outline of what to expect
- Provided equipment (packs, sleep sheets, rain jacket etc)
- Opportunity to purchase any last minute required items
- Medical forms
The briefing for the Milford Track guided walk is held at 5pm on the day prior to walk departure (check in at 4:45pm) at the Ultimate Hikes Centre, Ground Floor, The Station Building, Duke Street Entrance, Queenstown. Please advise our reservations department if you cannot make the pre-track briefing (strongly advised to attend), the Ultimate Hikes Centre will be open until 6pm each evening and you will be required to call in to pick up equipment.
Please note that Te Anau departures are available. The Te Anau pre-track briefing is held at 11.00am on the morning of departure (on request, please notify reservations at time of booking). This is held at the Ultimate Hikes Desk in Kiwi Country, Cnr Town Centre & Miro Streets, Te Anau.
A small bag (you may borrow one if necessary) of clothing/personal belongings for use at Mitre Peak Lodge (Milford Sound) on the final night can be sent by road from Queenstown to await your arrival. Any further luggage should be stored at your hotel. It is advised that, for this reason, you stay at the same hotel after your walk as you stayed in before walking. Please note that because of weight restrictions on our coaches, excess luggage cannot be transported.
Your boots/ shoes are the most important part of your walking equipment. Please ensure they are properly broken in prior to the walk. If you will be travelling through customs you will also need to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned before you pack them.
It is important to remember that the track is in a remote wilderness area. While our lodges have been designed for your comfort, we are still without a number of modern amenities such as telephones, faxes and email. There is no cellular service on the track so save yourself the extra weight. We have radio contact in case of emergency but otherwise you will be cut off from the rest of the world for a few days.
The track surface varies from smooth, well formed paths to rough terrain, broken by rocks and tree roots. There are steep rocky downhill sections and you may have to cross small streams and wade in deep water after heavy rain.
Safety is always our number one priority on the tracks and in the lodges. We operate using an approved documented safety plan, which all personnel are familiar with. All guides are trained in first aid and carry first aid kits. Every guide and lodge has a hand held radio which links them to each other and our bases in Queenstown and Te Anau, 24 hours per day. Our radio system is also linked with those of emergency service providers.
In the event of extreme weather the safety of all the walkers is paramount. Weather patterns are constantly monitored and no area of the track will be entered if any members of the party are deemed to be at risk. Guides may have to adapt the day's walk in certain situations. While they will make every effort to meet your needs, please adhere to their professional decisions if circumstances demand this.
We STRONGLY RECOMMEND all walkers carry their own medical/travel insurance while on our walk to cover medical and related costs (eg helicopter off the track, hospital care, accommodation, missed flights, etc).
The big question: What will the weather be like?
It is essential to be well prepared when walking. New Zealand has very changeable weather patterns. Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National parks have high rainfall levels and the weather can change dramatically in one day. The unpredictable nature of weather in this region means that snow, high winds and rain can occur at any time of the year. It is therefore very important to be prepared for the worst conditions and carry the appropriate clothing at all times.
However the weather is not always wet! We do have sustained periods of fine sunny days throughout the summer. Unfortunately there is no pattern as to when these will be.
One thing is certain, your guided walk will be a memorable one, whenever you choose!