New Zealand – The Milford Track

December 13, 2015



  1. Book huts early to avoid disappointment (no camping sites are available) – DOC Website
  2. Bring strong insect repellent
  3. Make sure all gear is waterproof: Pants, bag and jacket
  4. Bring your own matches
  5. Boiled eggs are great for breakfast


Milford Sound

Day 1

We started our day in the early morning with a 3 hour drive to the ferry which then took us to the start of The Milford Track.

The ferry ride was swift and we could feel the excitement while checking out everyone’s backpacks and gear.

As the island was protected we had to dip our hiking poles and boots in antiseptic solution to ensure we were not bringing any diseases or bugs onto the land.

Upon landing we noticed there was so many of sand flies and quickly put on some sunscreen and bushman DEET.

Our packs were heavy, the day was warm and we quickly found ourselves taking off a layer of clothes.

The track itself was relatively easy, very flat and well paved with gravel. Although the the first day walk was only 1-1.5 hrs long – it did seem a bit tough and were relieved when we came to our first stop, Clintons Hut.

It was here where we first let our feet rest and secured our bunk beds as we were the first few to arrive.We opted to kill time by doing a side trip to the lakes and helipad for photos before we headed back.

As we planned to prepare dinner, we noticed that there were no matches or lighters to actually get the stoves rolling. Quickly decided to just ask the warden nicely and she gave us a full pack!

The night went by quickly as we chatted to ourselves and fellow travellers from Sydney, Canada, and the US. It is always interesting hearing the stories and reasons for coming here. We both rested nice and early for the days ahead.

Day 2

Our day started nice and early, setting up to cook some oats and coffee to prepare us for the long walk.

Our destination was Mintato Hut. Although what seemed as a gradual incline on the map, it was a relatively tough day, with sand flies an uphill battle. The walk opened up many valley views on the mountains often alluding to the fact it was an avalanche danger zone. The views were incredible and the water so fresh we drank from the clasp out our hands.

Lunch was simple – peanut butter and Nutella wrapped with fresh banana.

The roads were very rocky, at one stage requiring us to cross a mountain on rocks to get back on track. What seemed to be the end took us forever as we had people passing us on the trail.

The view from Mintato hut was stunning, with the mountain up so close we often heard the breaks in mountain as the ice melted during the afternoon. Being the adventous type we are, we followed another couple that were also seeking the swimming pool down a side walk. When we got there – it was not what we expected. A large lake, very cold, and burns if our feet were left in the water too long. We played around before finally deciding to submerge our whole bodies in this freezing water. It must’ve been at most 3 seconds before Julieanne and I jumped out and screamed out of the freezing now waters.

For dinner we had noodles, twice! it was that yummy we just had to have another serving. Chatted to another group who were also having noodles “these are called… Yum Yums?”

Day 3

We started the day extra early as we knew there was a big day ahead. For hours we were ascending the mountain that we had just marvelled at from our huts. It seemed forever until we reached the top. What we saw was just amazing. The view of the monument, the view of the peaks surrounding us, and the clouds coming and going turning the whole scenery white.

We had set our packs down for some photos and what seemed like 1 min, people noticed a kea poking at our bags. It quickly flew away as re ran towards it and had noticed it had grabbed our Cliff energy bar from out backpack! it was quite a scene to witness!.

At the peak of the Mackinon Pass 1200m, the weather drastically changed in a short time. What was a nice sunny day quickly turned into a grey cloudy wind. We stopped for a quick break at the Mackinnon shelter – it had the toilet with a view! With the toilet door opened there was a view of steep green mountains and lingering wisps of clouds.

The second half of the day was tough. The day was still hazardous and we were directed to take the avalanche route down – it was very steep and rocky. We were so glad to have brought our hiking poles at this point.

We were so tired and every mile seemed so long. When we finally reached the next stop (offered by Ultimate Hikes huts for independant walkers, we were surprised to find hot water and green tea!. Although tired, we were determined  to see the Sutherland falls which was a side walk. It was a 1.5hr return trip and the view was amazing – it was worth visiting to see the tallest waterfall in South Island New Zealand. If you are close enough to see the waterfall then you are bound to get wet, so make sure you bring your waterproof jacket.

The final walk to our last hut was relaxing. Dumpling hut had a very large kitchen and fireplace. We even played Jenga and met a fellow Australian who was 70 years old that organises bush walks in Melbourne!

It was also here that we finally had a nice a friendly conversation with Alex “scrambled eggs” – which we had nicknamed as we noticed he had fresh eggs and mushrooms for breakfast most days! it was quite inspiring to hear his travels.

During the night, there was someone snoring that woke up most of the hikers in the dormitory. Many whispered frustratedly “Wake her up” and “turn her over”, the one that topped it was the old man that bellowed “CAN YOU STOP SNORING!?” He seemed very agitated and got out of his bed to wake the snorer. He made his way to Julieanne and suddenly stopped when he realised the snore was coming from a different person. He then walked over to his fellow traveller and shook her and asked her to stop snoring.

Day 4

As usual our day started early and it took a while before anyone caught up to us. It was more of a relaxed, but long walk. There were parts of the track that almost seemed like we were walking up a large carved rock!.

We were excited to see the mile counters as we strolled through and had a break for 20min with other fellow travellers. The final push to make the sandfly ferry was long, but we made it there with ample time for a few photographs.

The ferry was small but we all packed in rather well. After a 30min cruise on the ferry leaving the Milford Sound, it felt as though we were leaving Jurassic Park. It was quite relieving to finally be at the end of this trek.

The ferry ride was so relaxing! Make sure you get a seat outside so you can enjoy the majestic views of the Milford Sounds and other glorious mountains.


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