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Southern Alps via the Milford Track

Listed under Walking in Milford Sound, New Zealand.

  • Photo of Southern Alps via the Milford Track
  • Photo of Southern Alps via the Milford Track
  • Photo of Southern Alps via the Milford Track
  • Photo of Southern Alps via the Milford Track
  • Photo of Southern Alps via the Milford Track
  • Photo of Southern Alps via the Milford Track
  • Photo of Southern Alps via the Milford Track
  • Photo of Southern Alps via the Milford Track
Photo of Southern Alps via the Milford Track
Photo by mikelyvers
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Southern Alps, South Island, New Zealand.

This vast area includes Mt. Cook, where Hillary trained for Everest, as well as the Fjordland region where one can hike the 4-day Milford Track - touted by New Zealanders as “the finest walk in the world.” The Milford Track follows pristine glacier-carved valleys, crosses a pass with spectacular views, passes beneath Sutherland Falls (one of the world’s highest) and ends up in Milford Sound, possibly the world’s most beautiful fjord. This trek is extremely popular and there is a limit to the number of hikers allowed per day in summer, so if you plan to do it you must reserve your 4 days up to 6 months in advance – and hope for good weather when your time comes. The Routeburn Track is also very scenic and there are a number of other great options as well.

Written by  Mike Lyvers.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

The Milford Track is one of the most beautiful natural sites in New Zealand. It's described as the finest walk in the world.

Milford is the most likely destinations for tourists. One can enjoy the various highlights nearby. Here you can experience the cool driving between the forest, fishing in the river, beautiful waterfalls, high mountains to walk and climb on etc. This is the actual place where you can enjoy adventure travel.

Nite Travel NZ

In order to save time if i where to travel at Night from Chch to Greysmouth would i be wasting my time? Reason being so next day i could travel to Queenstown via Fox glazier and spend the nite at Queenstown. The following day i would do the day trip to Milford sound. On my last day at NZ i plan to return to Chch via mount cook. Does this itineary sound good? Am i covering allthe best spots this way as i have only 3 days driving in NZ. Thanks

Glade Wharf - Milford Sound

Recommended by Richard Pulmner

This historic route from Glade Wharf to the Milford Sound crossing Mackinnon pass, and cutting into Arthur Valley to the Sunderland Falls was first used by Maoris collecting greenstone. The Milford Track is an easy four day walk with around six hours of walking a day and reasonable hut accommodation along the way.

The first days walk will take you along the Clinton River through beech forests and smooth grasslands, the second is over the debris of a landslide which has created a lake and waterfalls, with the drowned skeletons of trees still poking their branches about the lakes surface. You then walk the bottom of the valley with gentle waterfalls on both granite sides, arrive at a lake (probably the warmest of the region) then cross a series of bridges and a suspension bridge before reaching your hut for the night where you can dump your bags and try for Mackinnon Pass.

On the third day the track crosses at a lower pass then descends into another area of dramatic water features with rapids and waterfalls, including the thundering Sunderland Falls, a short detour away. The fourth day is similar terrain to the third passing the scenic Mackay Falls and Bell Rock.

You need to make a booking to walk the track during the peak period between late October and May, with a maximum of 40 walkers allowed to start walking at the beginning of the track each day. This ensures minimal environmental damage and space in the sleeping huts. Be aware that you can also only walk in one direction during this period - from Glade Wharf and Milford Sound. Ferries leave the Sound at Sandfly Point at 2 and 3pm daily.

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