The Classic

The Classic Itinerary

8 days | 7 nights
95 km | 59.2 miles
Difficulty | Difficult
Nov - Apr

Pre Track Briefing

The Milford Track guided walk briefing is held on the day prior to your Classic walk departure date in the Ultimate Hikes Centre in Queenstown at 2.45pm. The briefing will explain the next few days of your walk, run through the packing checklist and show you the equipment you can borrow. 

Day 1 - Queenstown/Te Anau to Glade House

1.6km (1 mile)
Level of difficulty: Easy
Track Terrain:  Nature walk - Some rocky sections and uneven ground.

You begin your adventure back at the Ultimate Hikes Centre to meet the group, your guides and bus driver. The bus travels around Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, with a brief stop in Mossburn. Lunch is at the Alpine Café in Te Anau before you resume your bus journey to Te Anau Downs. From there it is a one hour boat ride up Lake Te Anau to Glade Wharf and the start of the Milford Track. Walking 1.6km up the track you emerge into the Glade where our lodge sits beside the Clinton River. After refreshments a guide will take you on a short nature walk up the Glade Burn to familiarise yourself with the terrain before settling into the lodge for drinks, snacks, and dinner followed by a short briefing on the day ahead.  The generators turn off at 10.00pm.

Day 2 - Glade House to Pompolona Lodge

16 km (10 miles)
Level of difficulty:
Track Terrain: Mostly flat graded track with some uneven and rocky sections with a short incline at the end.

Today, after breakfast and packing your lunch, you will start your first day walking. Cross the Clinton River swingbridge and follow the river along a graded track. Beech forest covers this section and a side walk reveals a wetland area.  Lunch is at Hirere Hut.  After lunch you will emerge from the beech forest on to a wide open space with tall grass and Manuka bush. Take a side track to Prairie lake for a dip before heading up to Pompolona Lodge to be welcomed by your lodge host with a cold drink. Relax with a hot shower, rinse out your hiking gear and enjoy a drink before dinner. A briefing on the next day follows dinner.  

Day 3 – Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge

15Km (9 miles)
Level of difficulty: Challenging
Track Terrain:  Steep uphill following zig zags to Pass Hut on rocky uneven track.  Steep downhill (including steps) to Quintin lodge

This is the most challenging day, especially in inclement weather, so take your time and walk at your own pace. The track leads up to the head of the Clinton Valley, before climbing the Omanui/McKinnon Pass in a series of zig-zags.  At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular panorama views (weather permitting!) and a rest at the McKinnon Memorial.  Walk on to the highest point and stop for lunch with hot drinks in Pass Hut. The descent into the Arthur Valley to Quintin Lodge is steep and rocky so again take your time. Once there, drop your bags, and have a snack because you can't miss taking the optional round trip to the Sutherland Falls, the world's fifth highest waterfall.

Sutherland Falls - This side walk from Quintin Lodge is an hour and a half return.  It is steep in parts with some large steps, but well worth the trip!

Day 4 - Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge

21km (13.5 miles)
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Track Terrain:  Mainly flat well-graded track, however it is uneven ground with some rocky sections.

The track is well graded but it has some uneven and rocky patches. It’s the day of more waterfalls though, even if it’s not raining!  Mackay Falls is first, followed by Giants Gate where you stop for lunch. From here it’s a wide track to Sandfly Point and the boat across to Milford Sound and Mitre Peak Lodge. Enjoy the views of Mitre Peak and join your friends in the bar for a well-earned celebration.

Crossing the bridge past boatshed - Milford Track guided walk

Day 5 Milford Sound - Te Anau

Cruise on Milford Sound

This morning after breakfast the guides will ensure your belongings are labelled to go in the bus. The bus will drop you at the wharf to board the Cruise on the famous Milford Sound. Enjoy waterfalls and wildlife and glimpse the Tasman Sea before returning to dry land and hopping back on the bus for the ride back to Te Anau.

Te Anau Accommodation

In Te Anau, you will be directed to your accommodation for the night.  The rest of your day and night is free to explore or relax ready for the next section of your hike - The Routeburn Track.

Please note: Dinner, and breakfast the following morning are not included in the package.

Day 6 - Te Anau to Mackenzie Lodge

12km (7.5 miles)
Level of difficulty: 
Track Terrain: The track is reasonably smooth, with some steep rocky sections.

The bus will collect you from your accommodation and take you to meet your group at the Alpine Cafe, e Anau for morning tea. From Te Anau you will drive to the start of the track at the Divide on the Milford Road.  The wide and well formed track climbs steadily from the Divide to Key Summit.  Take the optional walk to the summit to see wetlands and gaze down three valleys from which water flows to three different coasts.

Following lunch at Lake Howden the track gradually climbs through silver beech forest to Earland Falls.  You'll hear them before you see them!  Take a break here before beginning the descent into Mackenzie lodge which is steep and rocky, so take your time.  Refreshments, a hot shower, three course meal and comfortable beds are waiting at Mackenzie Lodge.

Day 7 - Mackenzie Lodge to Routeburn Falls

11 km (6.9 miles) 
Level of difficulty:
Track Terrain:
Uneven and steep in places, with a series of zig zags, then mostly flat, before heading downhill with some boardwalks and steps

The track from lake Mackenzie starts with an ascent through ancient forest on to alpine zig zags to Ocean Peak Corner, where you have a full vista of the Darran Mountains.  The track then crosses the Hollyford Face to the Harris Saddle, where you will stop for lunch. After lunch, weather permitting take the optional walk up Conical Hill for a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks. Rounding Lake Harris after lunch you reach the track's highest point.  From there the descent into the upper basin of the Routeburn Valley is a mixture of gravel track and boardwalk until you reach the Routeburn Falls. Spend your final night at the beautifully located Routeburn Falls Lodge.

Day 8 - Routeburn Falls to Queenstown

9Km (5.7 miles)
Level of difficulty:
Track Terrain:
Mostly wide and smooth with some rocky patches.

The track descends from the lodge to the alpine pastures of the Routeburn Flats, crossing a tree slip allowing views to the mountains beyond. At the bottom take a short detour to the DOC hut and walk out on to the flats to see the full expanse of the valley. The track widens from here and follows alongside the Routeburn River as it roars through a magnificent gorge. Gorge Flat is a great place to stop for lunch.  The last section is a gentle walk through the beech forest and across the last swingbridge to the Routeburn Shelter. A coach will take you back to Queenstown, stopping at the small town of Glenorchy on the way.

The weather and terrain can be challenging at times so it is important that you prepare for your walk. Please read the information and view the picture gallery below.