The Milford Track Great Walk (53.5km, 4 days) is New Zealand’s most famous walking track and over 13,000 people walk along it every year.
It goes from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound along the Clinton and Arthur River valleys, passing numerous waterfalls along the way. The Milford Track can only be hiked in one direction.
The number of independent hikers is restricted to 40 each day (with an additional 50 hikers on guided walks) and bookings are essential if you’re planning on hiking the Milford Track during peak season (Nov-Apr; the Great Walks Season). Booking for each season opens in Jul and the more popular summer months fill up early. You are limited to staying only one night at each hut on the track.
It costs around $495 to hike the Milford Track including $210 for three nights’ accommodation in huts on the track, plus another $285 for bus and ferry transfers to and from the track. That’s the cheap option! A guided walk can cost over $4000 but your four grand does give you luxury accommodation and gourmet meals.
Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut (5km, 1–1½ hours)
You approach the track by ferry from Te Anau Downs. The first day on the track is an easy 5km walk from Glade Wharf on Lake Te Anau to Clinton Hut.
Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut (16.5km, 6 hours)
The second day on the track is a gradual climb to Mintaro Hut.
Mintaro Hut to Dumpling Hut (14km, 6 hours)
This section starts with a zigzag climb over Mackinnon Pass followed by a steep rocky descent to Dumpling Hut. Many walkers say that this descent is the most difficult part of the Milford Track.
Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point (18km, 5½–6 hours)
The final leg of the Milford Track follows the Arthur River and the western shore of Lake Ada before reaching the trailhead at Sandfly Point near Milford Sound.