Renowned for its Jurassic rain-forests and high granite mountain passes, the Milford Track has etched its way to the top of any keen hiker’s bucket-list. Read on to learn what makes the Milford Track such a unique hiking trail, and discover a way to immerse yourself in its natural beauty on board the full 3 night/4 day guided hiking tour, or just take a day hike on the most stunning section!

Giant Gate Falls 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:

A stunning day hike to the Giant Gate Falls – starting from Sandfly Point, walking inland to the Giant Gate Falls. This stunning hike will give you a first hand taste of the Milford Track’s beauty, while giving you enough time to take a cruise of Milford Sound too. It’s an incredible way to get those Milford Track bragging rights, even when you don’t have time or the fitness to complete the trail in its entirety.


Milford Track day hike map:

Want to hike the entire Milford Track from start to finish?

You can take a fully guided hiking tour of the Milford Track by joining a trip like the ‘Milford Hiking Adventure’ with Active Adventures New Zealand.

Which New Zealand Walking Tours trips include the Milford Track day walk?

Beautiful South – 10 days, Queenstown to Queenstown.
Pristine New Zealand – 13 days, Auckland to Queenstown.
Elegant South – 11 days, Nelson to Queenstown.

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.

Mia Gordon
22:28 22 Jul 18
I went on an 8 day tour with these guys and I thought I had already seen the best of New Zealand. I was wrong! Stunning, absolutely stunning scenery and the nicest guides. Their hospitality and professionalism was unparalleled and we got to see parts of New Zealand I had not seen. I am a Kiwi who was an avid hiker and adventure seeker growing up and in my twenties. I am in my forties now and I got to experience the best of NZ with my daughter which was awesome! Highly recommend New Zealand Walking Tours for anyone who loves being immersed in the most breathtakingly beautiful places on the planet with the nicest people guiding more
jeanne costello
22:31 15 Feb 18
Our New Zealand Walking Tour was absolutely fantastic and our best tour ever. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and fun and took complete care of us, including making some wonderful picnic lunches and an amazing Christmas dinner. The places we visited were highlights on the South Island and we were able to hike, do a couple of boat tours, visit other interesting sites, and stay in some great places. This tour was the perfect combination of activities and I can't recommend it highly enough. A once in a lifetime adventure!read more
Roxanne Theriault
05:27 02 Nov 17
Amazing company, everything is top notch and they take care of you from start to finish! Always friendly, helpful, personable and professional - what kiwi hospitality is so famous for! You won't regret going on a walking tour with these folks and you'll definitely be planning your next trip, once you're back home! Highly recommend!read more
Miriam Houliston
05:19 02 Nov 17
Paul McDonald
21:13 30 Oct 17
I wanted to find a guiding company based in in New Zealand, with local guides. When I found out that New Zealand Walking Tours is part of the Active Adventures family, I was super confident to go ahead and arrange my trip. Exploring the Abel Tasman National Park by day and Awaroa Lodge by night was a massive highlight! I'll be back for more
Will Appelman
21:07 30 Oct 17
My wife and I are avid hikers, and New Zealand Walking Tours gave us the chance to explore a wide variety of New Zealand’s hiking trails – including amazing sections of the 9 Great Walks, and be rewarded with accommodations that are a step ahead of the competition, delicious locally sourced food and a tipple of New Zealand's finest local wine! But on our free day in Queenstown we met loads of local ‘Kiwis’ who hadn’t even heard of some of the trails we hiked along the way – it actually made us feel like the locals! In the same time it would have taken us to hike the Milford Track from start to finish (like we planned) we hiked an amazing section of the famous track, while also taking a boat cruise on Milford Sound and getting flown by helicopter from Milford Sound to the most incredible and isolated luxury lodge in the Hollyford. We then jet boated out across a lake before a beautiful walk back to civilisation on the Hollyford Track. Before our trip, Fiona worked out exactly the perfect trip to suit what we were looking for, and Lynette was an amazing help getting us ready to depart - making sure we packed everything we need, and not so much of what we didn't need. Highly recommended!read more
Joe Sutheran
20:52 30 Oct 17
I had a great time in New Zealand with my parents, travelling with New Zealand Walking Tours. I know my parents were so happy they found this company, the activity level was spot on for them, and accommodations, food etc was never less than outstanding. I didn't have much to do with the company pre-trip, but I know my parents were extremely impressed with the communications, and preparation advice from the team behind the scenes. What I can say is that when it came to the trip itself, the guides were just a joy to be around, extremely enthusiastic, interested in their guests, and very knowledgeable. Being a bit younger than much of the group, I was a little apprehensive that I might not enjoy it, but I don't know what I was worried about! Spending time getting to know the others on the trip, as well as the guides, was a delight - but what meant the most to me was spending time with my parents without the burden of the 'real world' on any of us, just enjoying the moment and each other's company. Thank you New Zealand Walking Tours for showing us the best of your stunningly beautiful country, and giving all three of us happy memories we'll never more
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Milford Track through the forest
Walking the beautiful Milford Track.
Sandfly Point sign, end of Milford Track
Sandfly Point, the start and end point for our day walk on the Milford Track.
Accommodations in Milford Sound surrounded by mountains
Our accommodation in Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park.
Milford Sound at dusk
Watching the sunset over Mitre Peak and Milford Sound.

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