Soaring peaks dive into lush forests on the 4-day Milford Track, New Zealand’s most famous hiking trail. Often called the “finest walk in the world,” the Milford Track travels through the UNESCO-listed Fiordlands, a dramatic setting crisscrossed by a network of suspension bridges, winding waterways, narrow trails, and open valleys. The Basics
Located in Fiordland National Park, Milford Track begins at Glade Wharf and travels 33 miles (54 kilometers) to Sandfly Point, climbing to a 3,786-foot (1,154 meter) high point along the way. Camping is not permitted, but accommodations are available in three huts operated by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Hut reservations must be made in advance, and both the beginning and end of the track are only accessible by boat.
If you’re not up to the epic, multi-day walk along the whole Milford Track—or if you weren’t able to score one of those sought-after permits—one option is to hike a section of the trail on a day trip. A number of full-day guided excursions are available, including scenic flights over the fjordland from Queensland to Milford Sound, and ferryboat transfer to and from the trail head. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Swarms of tiny sandflies on the Milford Track can drive hikers to distraction; bring insect repellent that contains plenty of DEET, or wear protective clothing.
- Fiordland National Park is lush and green for a reason: this area is very rainy. Pack rain gear to stay comfortable.
- Stormy weather can mean a slippery hiking surface, so wear a sturdy pair of boots even if you’re headed out on a day hike.
Getting to the Milford Track requires an overland trip to Te Anau Downs, followed by a 75-minute cruise to Glade Wharf, the hike’s starting point. When you reach Sandfly Point at the end of the trail, a 20-minute boat trip gets you to Milford Sound, where buses continue to Te Anau and Queenstown. When to Get There
Most hikers who complete the Milford Track do so between late October and the end of April; the huts are only fully serviced during these months. Only very experienced hikers should consider the trek during the offseason, which brings extreme weather. What Do You See on a Milford Track Day Hike?
With easier access from Te Anau and Queenstown, most Milford Track full-day hiking tours set out from Sandfly Point, where through-hikers finish their treks. It’s a gorgeous walk that takes in scenic highlights, including Lake Ada and Giant’s Gate Waterfall.