IN THE STEPS OF FAMOUS EXPLORERS
In the steps of famous explorers, let us take you to one of the most magnificent and well-known experiences in Fiordland, the Milford Track. When bookings open on this track (9.30am NZST Tuesday 19 June for the 18/19 season) it’s a good idea to be quick – the track tends to book out for much of the season in days.
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 eyecatching. 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.