Quintin Mackinnon and Ernest Mitchell were the first Europeans to travel overland from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound in 1888 and their route became the world famous Milford Track. Today MilfordTrack, a 54 km and 4 days trek through Fiordland National Park, is considered one of the 9 New Zealand’s Great Walks and the finest trek in the world so I could not miss that!
Only 40 people a day are allowed to start Milford Track so bookings must be done many months in advance. Hikers must sleep in the DOC’s huts and need to carry all the necessary to sleep and eat during 4 days. Here is a description of the track day by day:
The day started at Te Anau Downs where the group took a boat to Glade Wharf, the starting point of Milford Track. It was raining a lot so during the boat trip we could not enjoy much of the beautiful landscape made of fiords but that’s Fiordland! In this area rain falls 200 days a year with annual rain falls from 1200mm to 8000mm in Milford Sound.
During the first day there were only 5km (1h30min) to walk to the first hut so it was a kind of warm up. We went through a beech forest but as everything on my shoulders was wet, camera included, I did not want to stop too much to take pictures, I just wanted to reach the hut and get dry 🙁
Fortunately, the rain stopped by 4pm, just in time for our nature walk with the hut ranger, and later we were rewarded with a huge rainbow so in the end all the rain was not that bad! 😉
Dinner time was the worst part of the day because the most convenient meal option to travel light (plus in theory it has everything the body needs) is the dehydrated food. Even if there was a big choice of meals, all tasted the same to me, I hated them!!
After dinner it was time to chat with our mates or play cards but nobody stayed up until late, we all needed to rest well for the following day.
Things were getting serious! This was a long day, when we hiked 16.5km (350m up, 6hrs) to the base of Mackinnon Pass. The weather was getting better: it did not rain and the sky was getting clear so we could finally enjoy the landscape. We went on through a beech forest but we also saw the first lakes and waterfalls. As it rained a lot during the previous day it was like if mountains were crying, so beautiful!