Milford Track

Published by amayzed , 1 February 2008, 04h20.

Region: World » New Zealand » Southland
Date of the hike: 3 January 2008
Hiking grading: T2 - Mountain hike
Geo-Tags: NZ 
Time: 4 days
Height gain: 550 m 1804 ft.
Height loss: 950 m 3116 ft.
Route:Milford Track
Access to start point:Ferry from Te Anau Downs to Glade Wharf
Access to end point:Ferry from Sandfly Point to Milford Sound.
Accommodation:New Zealand DoC huts (must be pre-booked)

Melbourne to Queenstown
Travelling there
We flew from Melbourne to Queenstown via Sydney and stayed overnight in Queenstown.
After packing all our things, we managed to get to bed by midnight, wishing that we didn’t have to wake up in 5 hours to catch a bus to the beginning of the Milford Track.
Queenstown to Glade Wharf
We set three alarms just to make sure we woke up at 5:30am, we really didn’t want to miss our 7am bus ride!
We had a bit of a predicament with our extra bags as we were going to take them over to Info and Track the day before where they’d be driven to Glenorchy, but we only arrived at our hotel at 8:50 due to the delays and Info and Track closed at 9 pm. This meant we had to get them to Info and Track in the morning at 7am, but yes, our bus left Queenstown at 7am. Fortunately the bus stop and Info and Track were quite close to one another, and so we dropped the bags off there at 7am and ran to the bus stop just in time to catch the bus before it left. For once, our plans went smoothly and we were heading towards the start of the Milford Track.
The ferry ride was about 1 hours and very nice.
Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut
This track once again reminded us of scenes from the Lord of the Rings movie, everywhere was so scenic and beautiful. After a little over an hour we came to the hut, and set down our things. We had already eaten lunch, and unpacking our things didn’t take long so we didn’t have anything to do. We had an early dinner, and went to bed at about 8, totally exhausted from all the lack of sleep we’d had for the last few nights.
Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut
We awoke early, at 6:45am, after a wonderfully long sleep and began the morning ritual of packing our packs, eating breakfast, washing up and brushing our teeth. Unfortunately, this ritual took a very long time this morning and we only left the hut at about 8:30. We stopped every so often to drink up the beautiful surroundings.
We were hiking through a valley that had, had many landslides and avalanches. It was a bit daunting reading signs such as “No stopping here, avalanche zone. Beware of falling rocks!” It does make you pick up the pace a little, whilst you look above at overhanging rocks, hoping that one isn’t about to fall off onto your head.
The valley was breathtaking; as we walked we watched waterfalls coming down the mountains on either side of us, created small creeks and rivers that we’d see or hear flowing nearby.
The climb to Mintaro Hut wasn’t too steep and we reached it more quickly than we were expecting. After a good rest we proceeded to cook ourselves dinner, and chatted with a few of the other hikers.
After listening to a hut talk, where the hut warden warned us about leaving our gear out as the Kias will tear apart anything we leave for them to play with, we brought in our boots and went off to bed.
Mintaro Hut to Dumpling Hut
Besides the usual chorus of snores and the flock of noisy kias, it was another peaceful long sleep. We packed our things much quicker this morning and set off about an hour earlier than yesterday, trying to avoid the hot sun on the climb back up to Mackinnon’s Pass.
As we climbed and climbed up the side of the mountain there was another crystal clear sky peaking out over the trees, so I knew that we would have magnificent views from the top.
The view was once again breathtaking; we were totally surrounded by mountains. We stayed at the pass hut for a short time and soon we were heading down the mountain hoping that the descent wouldn’t be too steep or long.
Unfortunately, it was exactly that, very steep and seemed incredibly long, yet it was actually only a little over 2 hours. We heard that sometimes it can take up to 4 hours to reach the lodge!
We could not wait to reach the Sutherland Falls and see if we would have the courage to walk behind the 578 m waterfall. As we approached the waterfall, we could feel the temperature dropping from the water spraying off the fall. Just standing there watching the falls was a similar experience to standing under a shower. I was getting completely wet even though I was about 50m away from the falls..
It was so slippery, but we held on tight to the moss growing on the side of the rocks. The spray from the falls was so strong; we could hard see anything, so we kept our heads down. Suddenly, we looked up and found ourselves in a different world; surrounded by the waterfall! The whole experience was exhilarating.
Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point
We set off on the last part of our adventure, following the river all the way to Sandfly Point. We arrived with about 20 min to spare before the 2 PM ferry departed for Milford Sound.

Hike partners: amayzed


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