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Stopping along the way
Stopping along the way
Along the track
One of the waterfalls

Milford Track

Thursday, March 24, 2005
Sorrel has found 54 kilometres of sheer beauty, making this one of the finest walks in the world.

Milford Sound, on New Zealand’s south island, is known as the "eighth wonder of the world". And a walk along the Milford Track, with its sheer beauty, explains exactly why.

Guided walks began in the area in 1889, and Milford Track Guided Walks is the only company offering them today, catering for everyone from hardened trekkers to novices. Around 14,000 people enjoy it each year — around half of them on a guided tour — but as everyone travels in the same direction, it never seems crowded. You usually cover around 15km a day — that’s five to seven hours of walking. Over three days you cover 55km.

Fiordland National Park is the cornerstone of Te Wai Pounamu South West New Zealand Heritage Park. It has been blessed with deep lakes, silent fiords, luxuriant forest and sheer canyons which have been carved through the granite.

On the first day, your adventure starts in Queenstown at 9am and you take a coach to Te Anau, arriving in time for lunch. You have the option of joining the team here. From Te Anau Downs boat harbour you are taken by launch to the northern end of the spectacular lake. You then walk to historic Glade House, your first overnight stay where a hot shower, good dinner and comfortable bed awaits you.

The next day you cross the emerald green Clinton River and follow it up the valley to the Hirere Falls. The beech forest becomes more luxuriant the further you go, until eventually you arrive at the Prairie from where you get your first sight of the ice-carved Clinton Canyon. You will have walked for five to seven hours, ending the day with a short climb to Pompolona Lodge, your overnight accommodation.

Day three is the most demanding and you will cover 15km in six to eight hours. Your track takes you to Lake Mintaro at the head of the Clinton Valley and then climbs the Mackinnon Pass in a series of zigzags. You just take your time, and the reward of lunch and endless breathtaking views make it very worthwhile.

Next is a rocky descent into the Arthur Valley and after a hot cup of tea at Quinton Lodge, you will be refreshed for the 90 minute round trip to the Sutherland Falls which rates as the fifth highest cascade in the world.

On the last walking day, you cover 21km in six to eight hours, walking down Arthur Valley to Boatshed where you stop for a refreshment. Then it's on to MacKay Falls and Bell Rock which was churned out of the river during a very violent flood. Lunch is taken at Giants' Gate waterfall and the final stretch follows tranquil Lake Ada to Sandfly Point. Then you take a launch trip to Mitre Peak Lodge for a celebratory and well-earned dinner.

After breakfast on day five you board one of the famous Red Boats for a Milford Sound cruise. Dolphins and fur seals are likely to be your companions, and the area's waterfalls are absolutely spectacular.

At the end of the cruise, your journey is a spectacular one through the heart of the Fiordland National Park to the Homes Tunnel and on to Te Anau, and after lunch, on to Queenstown.

Location

Milford Track starts in Te Anau, two hours from Queenstown.

Cost

Milford Track Guided Walks offers the 5 day hike from around $1320 per person, including transfers, accommodation, all meals and guides.. They operate daily from November to April.
Qantas flies daily to Christchurch with Jet Connect connections to Queenstown starting at $568 from Sydney, $573 from Brisbane, $622 from Melbourne, $859 from Adelaide, $992 from Perth and $1272 from Darwin, per person. Prices include charges/taxes and are current at time of writing but may vary at time of booking. Seasonal surcharges and conditions apply.

More information

Milford Track Guided Walk
Ph: 0011 64 3 441 1138
Fax: 0011 64 3 441 1124
www.ultimatehikes.co.nz
info@milfordtrack.co.nz

Waterwings Airways
Ph: 0011 64 3 249 7405
Fax: 0011 64 3 249 7939
milfordsound@queenstown.co.nz

Air Fiordland
70 Town Centre, Te Anau
Ph: 0011 64 3 249 7505
Fax: 0011 64 3 249 7080
www.airfiordland.com

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