Plan and Prepare
Milford Track Multi-Day Winter
Te Anau, Te Anau Downs
Te Anau, Te Anau Downs
From 2+ Nights
May & October
Experienced Hikers Only
The Milford Track great walks season is late October to April, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out if you're here at other times. Track transport is available to take you to the Milford Track and the incredible sights of Fiordland in winter.
Wild, tempestuous, and ruggedly beautiful – all of these words describe the Milford Track between late April and October. During this time of year, the track’s famous waterfalls, forests and mountain views come alive in vivid blues, greens and snowy whites.
If you’re an experienced hiker looking to walk the Milford Track during the off-season, you will enjoy this quieter (and colder) time to experience walking one of the world’s most famous walks.
How to get to the Milford Track outside of the Great Walks season
Track transport to the Milford Track is limited from April to October by demand and weather, but it is possible to arrange bus and boat transport packages. At this time of year, pre-booking your transport is essential.
Milford Track off-season transport options
- Bus journey from Te Anau to Te Anau Downs
- Start early at 8.30am and travel up Lake Te Anau on the water taxi from Te Anau Downs to Glade Wharf to arrive at the start of the Milford Track
- After completion of the track, catch the water taxi from Sandﬂy Point (the end of the Milford Track) to Milford Sound via water taxi
- Bus journey from Milford Sound back to Te Anau Downs or Te Anau
- Option to relocate a vehicle from Te Anau Downs to Milford Sound, often works out more cost effective for groups
- Trips may be cancelled at any time due to weather, avalanche or track conditions in which case full refunds will be issued
We recommend downloading this super handy app to have with you on your hike. It even shows your GPS location so you can see where on the trail you are located while you hike.
Hikers need to be well prepared to walk the Milford Track in May and October. Winter walking conditions can include cold, windy and very wet weather, as well as a risk of flooding, snow, ice and avalanches. Alpine equipment and experience is essential. Because huts are not serviced during the off-season, hikers need to bring fuel for cooking and heating, as well as lighting and personal locator beacons.
During the winter season, bridges may be removed, so knowledge and experience of river crossings is essential. Heavy rainfall makes streams and rivers in Fiordland rise very quickly, and track ﬂooding is common. Be prepared to wait for water levels to decrease before attempting to cross any waterway – it’s a good idea to bring supplies for an extra few days in case you are delayed.
Always check thelatest Fiordland weather report before you depart, and don’t hesitate to change your plans if you aren’t comfortable. Our cancellation policy is a full refund if we can’t get you there but if you change your mind or plans, please let us know 24 hours prior to departure for a full refund. While the Milford Track is wild and beautiful during the off-season, you do need to be prepared for challenging weather conditions. We’ll be able to help with any off-season hiking queries you may have, but we strongly recommend you also read through the Department of Conservation’s Tramping the Great Walks in winter’ webpage.
If you’re an experienced hiker, walking the Milford Track during the off-season is an unforgettable adventure
Fiordland Outdoors Co. offers easy track transport options to get to the Milford Track and safely home again at a time of year when many transport services are reduced
Travel with a local, family-run team who have experience in off-season hiking
Our fast, purpose-built water taxi to transfer you to the track and back again in warmth and comfort
- Can you hike the Milford Track out of season in less than 3 nights/4 days?
As the hut bookings in the off-season aren't managed, you can choose how long you spend on the track. As our boat arrives onto the Milford Track at 9.30am most people choose to hike through to Mintaro Hut the first day and spend 2 nights/3 days on the track. Some like to take more time and spend even 5 nights, the choice is yours in the winter season.
- What happens if the weather prevents us from going?
We closely monitor weather forecasts and work with the DOC avalanche team for the most up-to-date track condition information. If the DOC recommend we don't transport anyone due to the weather/conditions you will receive a full refund right up to the day of departure. All cancellations received within 24 hours of departure will be refunded in full as per our risk-free 24-hour cancellation and refund policy.
- What about the avalanche risk?
Avalanche risk is generally present in the month of October following winter snowfall and subsequent melt. During May, the risk is predominately flooding. If there is an unacceptable risk due to avalanche or flooding, departures will be cancelled. We are 100% focused on hiker safety.
- What is the minimum number of passengers required to depart?
We require at least 5 people to offer our track transport services outside the Great Walks season. However, you can choose to pay the extra fares needed to guarantee a departure.
- When are the bridges removed from the Milford Track?
Generally, the bridges that are in avalanche-prone areas, are removed on Queens Birthday weekend and put back in place over Labour Weekend. We will advise you when you book if this is any different.