Milford Track


The Milford Track is the finest walk in the world, or so they claim. It takes five days: the first you get there by bus and boat, then three days of walking and the last day again boat and bus. When you start in Te Anau instead of Queenstown, the first and last day are only half days.

First glance of the walking area

Backpacks

In summer, every day almost 100 people start out on the Milford: 50 in the guided tour, and 40 'freedom walkers'. As we don't like to carry our sleeping bags and food ourselves, prefer a cold beer and a three course meal when arriving in a hut, we did the guided walk. As an extra, the guides also tend your blisters or amputate your toe if necessary.

A flower

The track is not hard to follow, although there were only a few places with this many signs.

It's hard to get lost

Amputating toes

 A usually small river streams next to the path, but after a lot of rain (over here, it rains 8 meters a year) the path can be flooded. 

MacKinnon Memorial

The second walking day is completely different from the first: instead of a lot of forest, we have bare mountaintops. On the top of MacKinnon Pass are some small lakes, where the tough guys in our group took a dip.

A high lake, ideal for swimming

At the Lunch hut on the pass, we were visited by a kea. These mountain parrots have a reputation to try to get your lunch or otherwise to destroy your shoelaces (or worse: your shoes).

Destructive bird

 It that Pieter, over there ???

The keas we saw weren't that destructive. All we noticed was that people get crazy around them: ever seen some-one lying on his stomach to make a picture (except Pieter, of course) ?

Sutherland's Fall

No path without dynamite

The Milford Track also gets you to the Sutherland's Fall, one of the highest waterfalls in the world. It cascades in 3 parts, together 580 meter. The highest fall in Iceland, a real paradise for waterfall-freaks, is 190 meter, so just a 'little' smaller.

The third day also covers forest, but it has a different vegetation, more fern trees.

The fauna is different too: the end of the walk is at Sandfly Point, but you meet the local insects the whole day.

Goodbye to my boots

A lot of people seem to take 'finest walk of the world' seriously: they leave their boots here, because any other walk would not be worth the while anymore. Leon added his shoes just for the picture: he needed them again on Stewart Island. We don't believe slogans.

Everybody gets a certificate as proof you have walked the Milford. The Japanese in the group got their cameras out and made pictures of each other with the guides. As first ones of the Westerners, so did we.