4
days

Milford Track Freedom Walk

The Milford Track is without a doubt the most well known of New Zealand's 'Great Walks'. The cost effective way to experience this 4 day walk is the freedom or Independent walk using Department of Conservation huts (carrying your own food and bedding).

The track passes through the heart of Fiordland National Park all the way through to Milford Sound and has a long history.  New Zealand Maori originally used the track to transport pounamu (green stone) It wasn't until 1880s that the track was first walked by Europeans, when Donald Sutherland and John Mackay began exploring the area.  It wasn't long until the beauty of the track became famous, when Quintin McKinnon started guiding the first New Zealand tourists in the region through what is now known as Mackinnon pass - the highest part of the Milford Track.

 

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Itinerary

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1
Queenstown City - Te anau Downs - Glade Wharf - Clinton Hut

Bus from Queenstown to Te Anau Downs: The Milford Track is greatly known as one of “the finest walks in the world”, it is a 4 day/3 night adventure starting and finishing in Queenstown. Prior to your walk, you’re able to buy all your food for the track at the Fresh Choice Supermarket in Queenstown. The bus from Queenstown stops during 15min at Te Anau, in front of the Fiordland National Park.

Boat from Te Anau Downs to Glade Wharf: Boat from Te Anau Downs to Glade Wharf.  The crossing is 1 hour and 15 minutes 
Duration 01:00

Start of the track:
From the wharf it is a short walk to the historic Glade House, this is – an original Milford Track lodge dating back to the 1890’s. Just past Glade House is the first and the largest of several suspension bridges you encountered on your walk. The well kept track continues for 1 hour, through beech forest along the banks of the beautiful Clinton River. Just before you reach tonights destination Clinton Hut, a side track option is recommended around the "Wetland Walk" offering views over a colorful sphagnum swamp.

This afternoon you have spare time to relax and prepare for tomorrow, set in a picturesque valley there are some great swimming holes around Clinton Hut.

Walking Distance: 5 km (3.1 miles) - 1 to 1.5 hours walking

Clinton Hut: This dormitory style accommodation, sleeping bags only.

 

2
Clinton Hut - Mintaro Hut

As you leave the Clinton Hut, your track follow the right bank of the Clinton River guiding you through exquisitely moss covered red beech forests until you reach the Clinton Forks, here you get a spectacular view of north branch of the Clinton River. Numerous avalanche paths make themselves known and one in particular ‘Dead Lake’ because of the dead beech trees submerged here. All along the trail plenty of waterfalls tumble from high overhead, crossing another footbridge there is a steady ascent through another mossy forest before reaching Lake Mintaro and the hut.

Walking Distance: 16.5km (10.25 miles) - 1 to 1.5 hours walk

Mitntaro Hut: This dormitory style accommodation, sleeping bags only.

3
Mintaro Hut - Dumpling Hut

This is a big days hike, the climbing of Mackinnon Pass and the optional side trip to the famous Sutherland Falls makes this the longest day hiking on the Milford Track.  The 400 meter (1,312ft ) climb to the pass begins, ascending up a series of switchbacks cut through the thinning forest. The 3280 ft (1000 metre) descent into the Roaring Burn stream is a hard walk and takes considerable time. But provides spectacular views, dropping steadily over rocky, uneven terrain crossing beneath Mt Balloon and the Jervois Glacier getting eventually to the Moraine Creek Bridge.
A set of zigzags leads to the bottom of the pass is a side track that leads to the magnificent Sutherland Falls. - a great place to see glow worms (after dark)

Walking Distance: 14km (8.6 miles) - 6 to 7 hours walking

Dumpling Hut: This dormitory style accommodation, sleeping bags only.

4
Dumpling Hut - Sandfly Point - Queenstown City

So you are on time to to get the boat from Sandfly Point, it is advisable to leave the hut before 7:30 am, the trail keeps on the right of the Arthur River until the Mackay Falls, certainly one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the entire walk.

Walking Distance: 18km (11 miles) - 5.5 to 6 hours walking

Sandfly Point to Milford Sound:  The boat from Sandfly Point to Milford Sound takes only 15 minutes. 


Milford Sound to Queenstown:The bus from Milford Sound to Queenstown, departs in front of the ferry terminal.