Day Hike - Milford Track

Oct 5th, 2008, 07:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 24
Day Hike - Milford Track

We are considering doing a day-hike on the Milford Track. We arrive Te Anau afternoon of Dec 28 and depart for Queenstown afternoon of Dec 30. Was planning on self-driving to Milford Sound morning of Dec 29, and then doing a day-hike that day.

It looks like RealJourneys does a guided day hike which leaves at 9:30 and returns at 6:30. They also offer a Lake Transfer service which looks like it leaves at 10:30 and returns at 6pm

1) Is the day hike from Glade House nice/worthwhile?
2) Will we be OK without a guide, and if so, do we need reservations or permit for a day hike?
3) If we do unguided, will we have enough time for a good day hike with the lake transfer service which leaves at 10:30 and returns at 6?
4) I assume that we will get a good scenic cruise out of this during the lake transfer?

Thanks for your advice,
jonniew is offline  
Oct 5th, 2008, 09:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 235
Hi Jonniew.
You will not be able to do the day walk on the Milford Track, and a trip to Milford Sound on the same day, as both take a full day.
The trip to Milford from Te Anau takes 2 hours each way, and a cruise on the sound is 2 hours. Ad to this any extra time for sightseeing on the way in or out, and the day is gone.
The Milford Track day walk leaves from Te Anau Downs, which is 20km on the Milford side of Te Anau township. The guided walk commences with a coach trip to Te Anau Downs, then a boat to Glade House. From there you walk to Clinton Forks hut; the first overnight stop for those doing the full track walk. You then return to Glade House and Te Anau Downs, then take the coach back to Te Anau. Again, a full day.
As you have discovered, you can also drive yourself to Te Anau Downs, and catch the boat. If you decide to do this you will be walking with the group on the guided tour. Probably pay not to walk too close, as the guide may get a bit snotty, but if you follow along, and keep to the same schedule you will get back to the boat at the correct time.
Real Journeys offer the only transport to Glade House. THis is used by everyone who is going on the track. Guided walkers, Freedom walkers, Guided day walks with any of 3-4 operators, and people just doing the lake trip and wandering along the track by themselves.
The trip from Te Anau Downs to Glade house is very scenic, and worthwhile just by itself. THe walk along part of the Milford Track is also lovely. However it is not a substitute for driving to Milford Sound, and on the track walk you will not get anywhere near Milford Sound. If you have to choose just one, take the drive to Milford Sound. You could also fit in a walk to Key Summit, which is part of the Routeburn Track.
vbca is offline  
Oct 5th, 2008, 11:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,482
Hi jonniew -

We took the Milford Track day walk on our last visit to the SI in March.

We walked it independently and were glad we did, as we went quite a bit further than the guided walkers.

We booked a return transfer from Te Anau Downs via Real Journeys as mentioned by vbca (NZ $95 each). We booked the morning of our walk, as we wanted to make sure we'd have good weather. The boat ride takes an hour, so the morning is pretty much shot by the time your reach Glade Wharf, where the track begins.

It took us 1:10 to reach Clinton Hut, which is the turnaround point for the guided walk.

We walked an hour past Clinton Hut, but had to watch our time or risk missing our ride back.

Most overnight walkers arrive on the later boat, which was nice for us day walkers, as the track was pretty much deserted until we turned back.

We really enjoyed what little we saw of the Milford Track - we managed to squeeze 11.6 miles, about 18.5 km, into our 4.5 hours on the track.

No reservations or permit required, but you can only get there by boat (unless you want to scale a few mountains).

No need for a guide. You can't get lost. At the time of our visit, the guided walk was something like NNZ $165 per person.

Yes, if you walk briskly, you can get in a nice day walk in the allowed time. And the boat ride itself is well worth it.

Melnq8 is online now  
Oct 6th, 2008, 05:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 898
If you decide to do a Milford Sound cruise, my suggestion would be the hike up Key Summit on your way back to Te Anau. It's an uphill walk, but takes you thru typical forests for the region and has nice views at the top.
astein12 is offline  
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