Routinely touted as ‘the finest walk in the world’, the Milford is an absolute stunner, complete with rainforest, deep glaciated valleys, a glorious alpine pass surrounded by towering peaks and powerful waterfalls, including the legendary Sutherland Falls, one of the loftiest in the world. All these account for its popularity: almost 7500 trampers complete the 54km-long track each summer. Soon after bookings open (sometime between February and May, for the summer season starting in October), this Great Walk becomes fully booked – keep an eye on www.doc.govt.nz/milfordtrack to time it right.
During the Great Walks season (late October through April), the track can only be walked in one direction, starting from Glade Wharf. You must stay at Clinton Hut the first night, despite it being only one hour from the start of the track, and you must complete the trip in the prescribed three nights and four days. This is perfectly acceptable if the weather is kind, but when the weather turns sour you’ll still have to push on across the alpine Mackinnon Pass and may miss some rather spectacular views. It’s all down to the luck of the draw.
During the Great Walk season, the track is also frequented by guided tramping parties, which stay at cosy, carpeted lodges with hot showers and proper food. If that sounds appealing, contact Ultimate Hikes, the only operator permitted to run guided tramps on the Milford.
The track is covered by 1:70,000 Parkmap 335-01 (Milford Track).