BEAT THE CROWDS TO
The Milford Track
UPDATE FEB 20 – SOUTHERN MILFORD-MCKINNON EXPERIENCE (The new Milford Track) In early February 2020 Fiordland experienced a significant weather event. Unfortunately, some of our favourite tracks, the Milford Track, Routeburn and Hollyford Tracks, were damaged by landslides and track washouts. As such, the Department of Conservation has closed the Routeburn and Hollyford Tracks for the remainder of the 2019/20 walking season.
But there is good news! The Milford Track reopens February 26. This will be a slightly different version of the Milford Track as the last 7 kilometres of the track are damaged and will remain closed.
The southern section of the track from Glade Wharf to Mackinnon Pass is open. For the many visitors who come from around the world to hike the Milford Track, DOC (Department of Conservation) has worked hard to open up parts of the Milford Track for hiking. The new version of the Milford Track is now known as the Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience.
The Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience is a shortened version of the Milford Track comprised of a 3-day, 2-night hike.
What you need to know about the new Milford Track at a glance
- Can I walk the Milford Track/Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience in summer 2020? There are some dates available due to the weather disruption this season. Book your Milford hut tickets as soon as you can!
- How do I get to the new Milford Track? Our fast and comfortable Milford Water Taxi will take you there. Our 2pm boat gives you the chance to beat the crowds to the first hut. And our boat will be there to bring you back out when you have finished the walk.
- Can I drive to Te Anau Downs? The car park at Te Anau Downs will be very busy because of the new Milford Track route. Avoid missing a car park (and potentially missing the water taxi transfer) and book a return bus transfer from Queenstown or Te Anau.
- We are Fiordland locals and Fiordland experts. If you need help on how to walk the new Milford Track, get in touch.
The Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience
Day One: 2pm Water Taxi from Te Anau Downs to Glade Wharf. Hike Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut, spend the night at Clinton Hut – 1hr 30 mins, 5km
Day Two: Hike Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut – 6hrs, 16.5km (option to walk to Mackinnon Pass (highlight of the hike), 3hrs return)
Day Three: Mintaro Hut to Glade Wharf – 7 hrs, 21km. 4.30pm Water Taxi Glade Wharf back to Te Anau Downs.
The Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience is one day shorter than the original Milford Track Great Walk. It is a loop hike, meaning you will finish at the same place you started.
How do I get to the new Milford Track/Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience?
Getting to and from the Milford Track can be complicated. That’s why we’ve created an easy transport package to get you there and back again.
Getting there: 2pm Daily Departure. Boat transfer from Te Anau Downs to Glade Wharf (the start of Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience)
Getting back: 4.30pm Daily Departure. Boat transfer from Glade Wharf to Te Anau Downs.
Connecting bus transport: From Queenstown or Te Anau to Te Anau Downs to meet the water taxi.
Special Note: There is limited parking at Te Anau Downs. We strongly recommend you book a return bus transfer to Te Anau Downs (from Queenstown or Te Anau) to avoid the stress of finding a car park. If you are unable to park the car, you may miss the 2pm boat departure.
THE INFORMATION BELOW IS FOR THOSE PLANNING THEIR HIKE FOR THE 2020/21 GREAT WALKS SEASON WHEN WE HOPE THE TRACK WILL BE RESTORED
About the Milford Track
The Milford Track is one of the most magnificent and well-known experiences in Fiordland. This multi-day hike will take you through ancient rainforests and valleys, and past magnificent waterfalls, pristine lakes, and snow-capped mountain peaks. The Milford Track is 53km of stunning alpine scenery and a must-do for any Fiordland visitor.
Milford Track transport options
Getting to and from the Milford Track can be complicated. That’s why we’ve created a range of transport options to get you to the start of the track quickly and easily.
- Milford Track Fast Boat – daily 2 pm departure
- Connecting bus + boat transport from Queenstown or Te Anau
- Self-drive option with vehicle relocation to Milford Sound (NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE 19/20 SEASON)
- On-demand charter services also available
Missed out on hut tickets?
You don’t have to complete the multi-day hike to experience this world-famous destination.
Book a Milford Track day trip to tick this incredible destination off your list.
Book your tripMilford Track Easy Transport Packages → Milford Track Fast Boat → Exclusive Milford Track Day Walk → Milford Track Independent Day Walking → Milford Track Winter Season → Gift an Experience →
One of New Zealand’s greatest hikes, the Milford Track is a point-to-point walk where you’ll journey from Lake Te Anau to the heart of Milford Sound. Hikers cross the mighty Mackinnon pass and enjoy views of the Pompolona Icefield, Lake Mintaro and the towering Clinton Canyon. All of this is a warm-up before you encounter the 580m-high Sutherland Falls. Shortly after, you’ll also enjoy the impressive Mackay Falls and the curious Bell Rock, before ending the journey with a short boat trip across to Milford Sound. Make sure you take a cruise out the sound to see seals, dolphins and soaring granite cliffs before journeying back via the Milford Road.
Rare, unique Flora & Fauna
There’s an abundance of wildlife that call the landscapes that surround the Milford Track home. The colourful Kea are the world’s only alpine parrot, and are known for their cheeky, naughty natures – watch out for your boot laces. Weka are a fiesty, flightless bush hen who also like pinching hiker’s snacks. Yellow-crowned parakeets, also known as Kakariki, are noisy little birds that like to live in the forest canopy – you’ll need to look up to spot them. And, if you’re lucky, you may hear the call of the Fiordland Tokoeka, or brown kiwi. They’re nocturnal, and males have a high-pitched whistle while females have a hoarse, deep call.
One of the reasons Milford is so untouched is because of the resident sandfly population. Don’t forget the sandfly repellant!
The forests, ferns and flowers of the Milford Track are lush and eye-catching. Tall Beech Trees are dotted with Rimu, giving way to rainforests covered in emerald ferns and mosses. Dappled sunlight filters through the canopy, and higher up you’ll discover Cabbage Trees, Edelweiss and Mountain Daisies.
The ‘Finest Walk in the World’
The Milford Track has origins as an overland greenstone route between Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound. In 1888, colourful local Quintin Mackinnon navigated the rainforests and mountain passes to create the route the track follows today. Word got out, and Mackinnon became the track’s first guide, famous for his good nature and scone-baking skills. In 1908, the London Spectator called the Milford Track the ‘Finest Walk in the World’, and, as they say, the rest is history.