The Milford Track
The Milford Track at a glance:
- Starts at Glade Wharf at the head of Lake Te Anau.
- Ends at Sandfly Point in Milford Sound.
- 53.5 kilometres long (33.5 miles).
- Typically takes three nights, four days to complete.
What we’ll do:
Giant Gate Falls hike – starting from Sandfly Point we’ll walk inland to the Giant Gate Falls.
Which trips include the Milford Track day walk?
Where is the Milford Track?
The world famous Milford Track begins at Glade Wharf at the head of Lake Te Anau. In order to access the Milford Track walkers need to take a boat journey across the lake, from Te Anau Downs, a short drive from the town of Te Anau on state highway 94 (the Milford Road). The track meanders through silver and mountain beech forest, skirting glacially carved valleys, and beautifully clear rivers and past stunning waterfalls, up to Mackinnon Pass, the high point of the hike, and then back down to sea level to finish at Sandlfy Point in Milford Sound itself.
What’s so special about the Milford Track?
We’ve included a section of the Milford Track on our trips not simply because it is New Zealand’s most famous walking track. The Milford Track was once described by poet Blanche Baughan as ‘the finest walk in the world’ and you know what? We agree!
The section we’ve chosen to include, from Sandfly Point to Giant Gate Falls is a great opportunity to get a taste for the absolutely breath taking natural beauty of Fiordland National Park, and the Milford Track.
From Sandfly Point we’ll follow the Arthur River upstream, initially on its true left, amongst thick forest, and surrounded by a multitude of different fern species. The track is punctuated by wooden bridges and walkways; we’ll cross the river and subsequent side streams as we continue towards the falls.
After strong winds or heavy rainfall, downed trees lay across the track, or by its sides. The Department of Conservation rangers regularly walk the track to maintain it and keep it safe for hikers, but it’s not uncommon to find an obstacle to step over, or duck under, in an environment that is always changing.
After an hour or so of gentle walking we’ll reach Lake Ada, and shortly afterwards, step out of the forest onto a swing bridge, the perfect vantage point to appreciate the Giant Gate Falls. The cobalt blue colour of the plunge pool, and outflow is a stark contrast to the green of the forest you’ve been walking through. The power and noise of the water is a something to behold, and it’s a rite of passage to have your photo taken on the bridge above the water.
The Giant Gate Falls walk takes you into true Fiordland wilderness, amongst vast areas of virgin forest. To be able to access such pure nature with only a short walk makes this a special trip, and one you won’t soon forget.
For more information about the Milford Track, and to see how we explore it on our New Zealand Walking Tours simply request a free travel brochure below – or scroll down to see our trips.