The Milford track is a 4 day/3 night hike that stretches from Te Anau Downs to the Milford Sound. It was routed as a chance for an overland track to get supplies and trade going between the two settlements. The Maori would travel through this area in search of their favorite green stone that they traded.
This trek is one of 9 great walks in New Zealand that are run through the DOC (dept of conservation). To get tickets for the trek you’ll need to log onto the DOC website and book well in advance as the walk sells out early and fast. Jackson booked our tickets back in the Spring. The cost is somewhat expensive: about $50USD a day and that’s only for a bunk, nothing else!
The bunks are simple and the housing is bare bones. You’re expected to bring your own food, sleeping bag and whatever creature comforts you need. There are no showers, no cutlery, and no electricity. There are 40 people allowed on the hike a day so the housing is really about 8-20 bunks per room (which can get noisy if someone snores…).
There are gas burners at the lodges so you can heat hot water and there is water provided from the waterfalls (of which there are MANY, but more on that later). There is also a ranger who is stationed at each hut and they give a small talk about safety, the weather for the following day and any kind of anecdotes they feel would be entertaining.
Jackson and I stocked up on a bunch of food for the hike. The cost came to about $50USD each for all the food.
Jackson was very diligent in packing everything into a sandwich bag A) so that it wouldn’t get wet and B) so that everything was easy to find and categorize in the bag. I was so grateful to follow his lead and bag all of my food as well, it made the hike very easy. When packing for a hike like this it is so important to bring high calorie foods! Lots of carbs and fats will really help give the body energy for all the hours of activity that needs to happen on the hike.
There’s a bus that takes everyone to Te Anau Downs where you catch the boat that then delivers you to the start of the track. The bus cost about $27NZD each (ouch) and leaves 3 times throughout the day.
The boat was very comfortable and had free coffee and tea on board. Going into the Fiordlands to get to the start of the track took about an hour and was VERY windy and VERY beautiful!! We spent the majority of the trip inside, but popped up on top of the boat a few times to look at the fiords.
You’ll notice in the picture above what we are all wearing. In terms of clothing this can vary somewhat depending on the person. Jackson and I opted for more running shoes, Dan’s wearing hiking boots, Jen’s wearing higher ankled hiking boots and Cait is wearing leather boots with rubber soles. After the hike Jen seemed to have fared the best. There are a LOT of rocks on this hike and having heavy boots with sturdy ankle support would have been best. I’m not sorry I wore heavy tread running shoes, but would have liked the ankle support.
We’ve all got rain jackets. These jackets are SO important!! Getting heavy duty rainproof jackets was a real life-saver. Jackson, Jen and I are also wearing light hats: such a great find. It kept the rain out of our eyes better than a hood and provided shade from the sun. I packed enough socks and underwear to have a dry pair every night. I’m wearing leggings under hiking pants. Water proof pants would not make a difference, we got soaked and I don’t think water proofing everything you wear would help. Having your pack water proofed with plastic bags is incredibly important, though!! Dan’s pack wasn’t big enough to fit his sleeping bag and it got wet on day 3. Don’t make the same mistake! Having a 65L pack was a great size.
The first leg of the walk is to Clinton Hut, about 1.5 hours of walking. It was a nice little jaunt and wet our appetite for the next day.