Walking on Milford Track: the finest walk in the world

Mackinnon Pass Memorial 1146m

Milford Track is a 53.5km trekking course in the Fiordland National Park of South Island at New Zealand. This walk is rated that “The finest walk in the world”. The steep valley where glaciers have been scraped is one of the best views.

Milford Track

Milford track is restricted by 90 people in a day and you can not walk freely. After booking all the mountain huts in advance, you will have to walk the scheduled course. This is a very popular course, but it’s very quietly.

To join this trekking, there is a way to participate in Guided Walk conducted by Ultimate Hikes, or arrange a public hut and make it your own personal walk (Individual Walk). This time I participated in a guide walk with 5 days from November 25, 2017.

Day 1: Queens Town to Grade House

There is no big town near Milford track, so the base town is a Queenstown a little away. Queenstown is a small town, but it is the best place to prepare for various activities, because it has various outdoor shops and.

Guided walk arrange the shuttle from Queenstown, and we will first take to Te Anau over about 5 hours.

Actually this Milford track is blocked by high mountains and it is not easy to access the mountain trail. So We went the place called Te Anau Downs, and took a boat from there and crossed Lake Te Anau for about an hour.

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By the way, you can access by the pass called Door Pass, but it is difficult to go through.

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Just about 20 minutes from here we arrive at the first accommodation “grade house”.

The first Lodge GRADE HOUSE

There is a place to stay at the guided walk and the personal walk, and with the guided walk you can stay at the private lodge owned by Ultimate Hikes. This private lodge provides a 3 course dinner, a shower, a powerful drying room, and also a private room depending on the plan can be selected!

The mountain huts for individual walkers is a self-catering hut. There are some staff, but only bunk beds, self-catering facilities, and toilet. The first lodge of the individual walk is placed approximately 1 hour ahead of the guide walk lodge.

Nature Walk

On the first day, the guide take you to a tour called Nature walk around the lodge. The guide will explain the surrounding vegetation and birds.

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Fiordland National Park is known as a region with very high precipitation. Because it is such a land, you can see very beautiful moss.

Beautiful Mosses

Grade House

The private lobby has this spacious lobby so you can relax after arrival.

GRADE HOUSE lounge

The best attraction of this Guided Tours will be dinners.

antipasto

It is served in the course has appetizer, main, dessert. The main can be chosen from three types everyday, you can choose from beef, chicken or fish, vegetarian meal.

I chose venison on this day.

venison

Day2: Grade House to Pompolona Lodge

Making a Lunch

Everyone makes sandwiches as a lunch before breakfast. We can also bring fruits such as chocolate, nuts, bananas and apples, so we don’t need to prepare climbing foods.

Lunch Making

Clinton River

Going along the Clinton River.

Clinton River

On the second day, I walk about 16km, but it is the easiest way. Like this picture the road is very well maintained, there are no incompleteness of signboard, small bridge to big bridge.

Because it is a nearly flat road, you can walk slowly.

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Up to 50 people can participate in the guided walk with 4 guides. Not like walking in a single row like Japan, two guides at the beginning and end and two guides in the middle come and go in the row, allowing participants to walk freely at their own pace I will. One guy was a Japanese one of the guides.

It is a good place for this course to be able to walk while enjoying slowly because there are few dangerous places on the road without worrying at all.

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Speaking of New Zealand, you may remember Manuka Honey. The Manuka tree is also growing here on the Milford truck.

Manuka

Milford truck has many fallen trees. The glacier scooped land seems to be too steep soils and the trees which have grown to a certain extent are falling down. Moss grows on fallen trees, and new buds come out and grow.

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Milford truck is a course to walk through such a valley. The surrounding mountains have a height of about 2000m, but until 10 thousand years ago all this was under the glacier.

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In the process of glaciers flowing over the ocean over a long time, the valley was shaved by 2,000m, and the terrain like this was created. As you pass through the forest, it seems that the valley is looming.

Swimming Pool

The last feature of this day is Lake Prairie. It was named Swimming Pool and was able to swim, but this day is 22℃ during the day. It is hot to walk, but it is too cold to swim. Everyone was taking off my shoes and was using it like a footbath and it was very cool.

Swimming Pool

Bus Stop

It is a little more to the accommodation Pompolona Lodge this day, but a bus stop suddenly appears.

The Bus Stop that never comes

Actually when it has heavy rain, we are not able to across the river ahead.In case of this, this bus stop will be the rain shelter.If it rains so hard that it can not get through for a long time, it might be use helicopter.

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Pompolona Lodge

This lodge, has a lots of special.

Ponpolona Lodge

The scones of the original recipe inherited from the time it was built 100 years ago will welcome you.

Ponpolona Lodge Original Recipe

I chose coconut curry for today’s dinner.

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Dessert was a delicious Crème Brûlée.

Crème brûlée

Kia which is kind of parrot likes playing with human. The placed climbing boots are a toy for Kia. Kia is often coming to play in a dinner time, will not escape if we approaching him.

Kea, a mischievous parrot

You can also can also order Egg Benedict as a special Breakfast.

Day 3: Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge

The third day is the 15 km road beyond Mckinnon Pass which is the highest point of this Milford track, it will be the hardest day on the track. It will be calculated to ascent 700m and descend about 900m.

Weka. a bird can not fly

Because there were no natural enemies, you can see many birds that can not fly such as Kiwi and Weka which are the national birds of New Zealand.

Weka, a bird can't fly

Birds here have no caution, do not run away at all. It is perfect for wild bird observation

South Island robin

Mackinnon Pass

The highest point of the Milford truck is this Mckinnon Pass. Although there is only 1,140m here, the forest limit is around 7 or 800m and it is a place where the scenery is outstanding. It is a place should be sunny.

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Mackinnon Pass Memorial 1146m

When I was taking photos, Kia came to cut in the frame.

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We have a lunch here on the third day. The photo is the toilet with the best view in the world.

The toilet with the best beautiful view in the world

Emergency Track

Milford track has a lot of avalanche. The sharp ground which glaciers have scooped will cause an avalanche everywhere. The track opens in November, but until around the beginning of December, some courses may be closed due to avalanche alert.

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Emergency truck is old road. It is shorter than the new road but it is steep grade and it is attention to your knee.

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By the way, the participants seemed to have hit a tour from Japan and it was composed of more than half Japanese. Normally, Japanese are 1 and 2 out of 50 people.

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There were four couples who came on honeymoon trips. it’s recommended.

Sutherland Falls

When we arrive at the Quintin Lodge, left luggage to the lodge and go to see the Sutherland Falls. The trail continues from the back of Quintin Lodge.

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It is biggest falls in the New Zealand which have the height difference 580m.
It seems that this day is sunny and the amount of water is small, we could bathe a much water that is impossible to get out a camera from the backpack.

Sutherland Falls

Quintin Lodge

Place for a dinner. There is a piano every lodge. Is this really a mountain hut?

Quintin Lodge

Today is a steak (it was a bit hard).

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Hot drinks are all you can drink, black tea, green tea, miro, coffee and espresso are prepared. Cold drinks such as coke and sprite and alcohol such as wine and beer are charged. Wide variety of wines are not so expensive.

Day 4: Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak

Finally the last day of walking. On the final day we will walk 21km, but it is almost flat so don’t worry.

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Deep forest, deep valley, alternately show various facial expressions. I found a weka with a child here.

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This is the Southern Hemisphere. It is attention to ultraviolet rays.

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Giant gate waterfall at lunch point. It feels so good that I will stay long.

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Last 1 mile sign has come, I feel a sad to apart this track so I walk slowly.

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It is the end of this track, sandfly point. It is 33.5miles and 35.5km from the beginning.

Sandfly Point is the end of this journey

Sandfly is a similar to mosquito, this sandflies are flying a lot in the Milford track, and the damage when biting is enormous. As Maori’s legend has it, It seems that God made it so that people do not stay long in this wonderful place.

Take the boat at the sandfly point and head to the last lodge Mitre peak lodge.

Mitre Peak Lodge

In the end of journey, we head to Mitre Peak Lodge, the only accommodation in Milford Sound. Mitre peak lodge is a private lodge dedicated to this tour and can not stay unless you participate in guided walk. Milford Sound is a very famous sightseeing spot and many tourists visit, but this is the only special lodge to stay while watching this views.

Paradise Duck

Awesome View.

Awesome view from Mitre Peak Lodge

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The last day lamb meat. It was very soft and tasty.

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Day 5: Mitre Peak and back to Queens Town

Milford Sound Cruising

There is no walk on the last day. Cruising about 2 hours at Milford Sound is included in the tour.

Milford Sound is a very valuable place to see wild penguins, seals.

Mitre Peak

Bye

If I could, I wanted to walk more, it was a wonderful tramping.

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