Of all the Great Walks in New Zealand, the Milford Track is the most popular and the most famous. Tickets for the year sell out on the first day they become available. It's described as the "finest walk in the world", and despite several days of bad weather we absolutely loved it. Here are 53 photos to inspire you to hike the Milford Track.
The ferry from Te Anau Downs
The start of the Milford Track is on the other side of Lake Te Anau in an area with no road access. So even getting to the start of the track begins with a beautifully scenic boat trip across New Zealand's biggest lake.
Day 1: Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut
Once at Glade Wharf, the trail is a leisurely 5km alongside the beautiful Clinton River. There are some glimpses of mountains as well as the stunningly clear river that seems to go from dazzling green to clear blue depending on where you see it.
Day 2 The Clinton Valley - Mintaro Hut
When the ranger in the DOC hut informs you that your day will involve more swimming than hiking, they always follow it by saying it's "a real Fiordland experience". Well, getting soaked to your bones wasn't exactly the kind of Fiordland experience we were looking for, but we sure got it on day two with 200mm of rain.
The benefit was that we saw the valley come alive with waterfalls that only form in the rain and disappear hours after it stops. This made for some epic views.
Day 3: Mintaro Hut - MacKinnon Pass
This is the most spectacular day of the whole trek and one of the best day's hiking we have ever done. There's a huge variation in scenery from stunning mountain vistas to mossy forests that feel enchanted. You will also see New Zealand's tallest waterfalls, Sutherland Falls.
The MacKinnon Pass
The high point of the track and also the scenery. You will be surrounded by mountains and with each step you take the view gets better and better.
Hiking down from the MacKinnon Pass
As you descend from the pass you don't lose the views and as the 900m hike down takes quite a while you have plenty of time to enjoy them. If it's been raining you will see even more waterfalls on this section.
Sutherland Falls (the tallest in New Zealand)
The trip to Sutherland Falls is a short side trail from the main Milford Track. At 45 minutes each way (probably less in reality as you don't take your pack) it is worth every additional step. The power of the falls will blow you away, we mean this quite literally, you actually can't stay too close for long as you will be blasted! They are as breathtakingly beautiful as they are powerful.
Day 4: Dumpling Hut - Sandfly Point
On day four you will pass through some of the most magical forest that exists on this earth. The moss and fern covered forest seems to close in around you and it feels like you are an extra in The Lord of The Rings. The many swing bridges make for some fantastic photo opportunities.
The Grand Finale: Milford Sound
After a short six minute boat ride you arrive at one of the greatest sights in New Zealand, Milford Sound. It is a spectacular end to the hike of a life time, and the perfect way to finish 'the finest walk in the world'.
Our cruise on Milford Sound was with Cruise Milford, who were the perfect hosts. They provided us with expert knowledge about Milford Sound on a comfortable boat with endless tea and coffee - perfect for a cold and gloomy day!
You may also see one of these guys on the road back to Te Anau
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Would you like to hike the Milford Track? Have you done any of the other Great Walks of New Zealand? Let us know in the comments below.