Hiking

Dec 11th, 2010, 07:03 PM
  #1  
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Hiking

Hi just wondering what people's opinions are on the these two hikes
Is it worth doing the Ultimate Hikes organized walk to Milford Sound. Or is the Routeburn hike just as enjoyable? Just trying to decide what to do?
Deob123 is offline  
Dec 11th, 2010, 08:55 PM
  #2  
 
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Hi Deob123 -

This probably isn't much help, but for what it's worth...I've walked a very small portion (18 km return) of the Milford Track as a freedom walker on a day walk...I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I've also walked portions of the Routeburn from both ends, also freedom walking. I personally preferred the Routeburn from the Milford side (the Divide) as it's just so darn pretty. Key Summit is incredible.

If you're just now looking into the Milford Track walk for the upcoming season, you may well find they're already booked out. Slots fill up pretty quickly as the number of walkers are limited.

Personally, I've never considered a guided hike in NZ, as it's just too easy to do oneself, but then again I'm just a day walker. I can certainly understand the attraction of having help with luggage transport and a nice warm place to lay my head at the end of a long day!

Good luck with your plans.
Melnq8 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 06:43 AM
  #3  
 
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We've done both hikes, with Ultimate Hikes, a couple years ago. Milford Track is a longer hike (a full 3 days of hiking with an additional very short day of hiking) than the Routeburn Track (a full day and 2 half days.) The Milford Track is 2 days of walking valleys (very flat) with one day of an up and over the pass. The Routeburn is alpine/mountain hiking. They are both beautiful hikes.

(RalphR is currently off doing them and we hope for a trip report when he gets back.)
KensingtonGirl is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 08:22 AM
  #4  
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Since you've done both hikes if you had to pick one which would you do? We can still get in on a guided hike for the Milford Track. We are coming for Canada and staying 3 weeks so we won't have a lot of gear so I think a guided hike would be best. Can you get guided ones on the Routeburn track too?
Deob123 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 09:15 AM
  #5  
 
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Just to throw out another option--we did the guided walk of Hollyford Track a few years ago and it was one of the highlights of that trip to NZ. It's a 3-day guided walk from the mountains to the sea so except for one portion crossing a saddle, the hike is relatively flat or downhill. It incorporates gorgeous scenery, history, a jetboat ride, fur seals and a flight along the dramatic coast on the final day to Milford. One great thing about this hike is that they limit the number in your group to 16 hikers and because it's a lesser known track, we didn't run into any other hikers at all. Also, the food was great, the beds in the lodges were comfy and the showers had plentiful hot water!
For more info, check: http://www.hollyfordtrack.com/
longhorn55 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 09:27 AM
  #6  
 
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I would probably pick the Milford if I had to pick one simply because it's longer. If I was doing day hikes on my own, I would definitely pick the Routeburn Track.

Ultimate Hikes does guided hikes on both tracks. You don't need a guide (unless the weather is really bad) but what it gets you with Ultimate Hikes is that you don't have to carry/prepare food and there is hot water at the lodges at the end of the day. On the Routeburn, you also carry a sleeping sheet and towel, while on the Milford, they are provided for you at each lodge. You do have to carry your own pack with your clothes and a lunch you pack each morning at the lodge. Ultimate Hikes provides packs and raincoats if you don't have them - we took our own. We did both hikes back to back in 2007. At that time, we thought the quality of everything was higher on the Milford Track though Ultimate Hikes has since built new lodges on the Routeburn.

Because the Milford Track is one-way for thru hikers, it feels less crowded since you rarely meet anyone. The non-guided hikers stay a couple kilometers up the trail each night and are usually well ahead of the guided hikers each day. With the guided group, a guide goes out with the first hikers and stays in front of the group and another guide stays at the tail end of the group. By the end of the day, there is usually 2-3 hours between the first and last hikers. The rest of the hikers are spread out along the trail so most of the time you will be enjoying pure solitude without anyone in sight.

It is 5 full days with Ultimate Hikes for the Milford Track (first day is drive to TeAnau, boat trip and about 1.2Km of walking, last day is Milford Sound cruise and drive back to Queenstown) and only 3 days for the Routeburn Track.
KensingtonGirl is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 09:33 AM
  #7  
 
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I went on the Ultimate Hikes excursion (when it was about half the price!) I don't really like how they divide up the stops for the "guided" or rather "catered" walkers, the first day is much too short, the second day isn't really that interesting (not much different than you will see on any day walk in Fiordland), the third day is the day you cross the pass, the real reason for doing the hike and is all uphill and thigh busting downhill, and you better pray that you do it in good weather!. The fourth day is also too long and a bit "meh". You do get to spend the night at Milford Sound which is a wonderful way to finish.

Unless you want to "notch" the hike on your life list then I would recommend the Routeburn. You can book the huts so don't need to carry as much stuff as you would expect.
mlgb is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 10:27 AM
  #8  
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Thanks mlgb, we are starting to lean more towards the Routeburn track. It still seeems like a lot of money for a hike. Did you do a guided hike on the Routeburn or self guided?
Deob123 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 02:11 PM
  #9  
 
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Deob...if you havent already, check out my newly created trip report on the Milford and Routeburn tracks. I respectfully disagree with mlgb...no day on the Milford is "too long" and there's no way the last day can be called "meh". One's experience may depend on the weather, however. We were very lucky.
RalphR is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 05:53 PM
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Melnq8 do you see a lot of the nice parts of the Roteburn track just doing the day hikes?
Deob123 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 06:00 PM
  #11  
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Melnq8 do you see a lot of the nice parts of the Roteburn track just doing the day hikes?
Deob123 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 06:05 PM
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The back end of the Routeburn has some good views from the Key which can be done as a day hike. I would say the front end (from near Glenorchy) is nice but average.

Thats' fine with me if Ralph disagrees but I think 13 miles on the last day is too long, and it's mostly the same scenery (along a forested river, no passes) that you will see on almost any hike in the forest areas of Westland and Fiordland. On the first day you walk less than a mile. If you do the self-guided hike on the Milford the stops are spaced better.
mlgb is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 06:28 PM
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Deob123 -

I certainly enjoyed it, Key Summit in particular. I have some photos of Key Summit posted here if you want to take a look.

http://www.worldisround.com/articles/344726/index.html
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 03:29 PM
  #14  
 
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I just returned from doing the Routeburn with Ultimate Hikes and it was fantastic. The guides were great and the accommodations were very comfortable and food was delicious. First day is about 8 mile and very much uphill mostly undercover of trees but beautiful scenery everywhere. We experienced very bad weather on our 2nd day and were unable to hike because of it, we were helicoptered to the next hut and thankfully able to complete our hike on the 3rd day. There were people on our hike that have done the Milford Trek and the preferred the Routeburn even our guides said they liked the Routeburn more the Milford.
travelmack is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 04:55 PM
  #15  
 
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You can hike independently on the Routeburn from either end, if the weather is bad you can return to the starting point. There are huts for rent which means you won't need to carry tents or cook stove.

More info at http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-rec...-and-bookings/
mlgb is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 02:03 PM
  #16  
 
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Have only done the Milford and it was beautiful. I agree with mlgb that the last day is long, but totally disagree that it was "meh". From Ralph R's photos I can tell he is in way better shape and younger than I am, so I can see that he would find the whole thing easier than I did.

I have seen the area near the Routeburn and it looks very nice. I don't think you can go wrong whichever one you choose.
susncrg is offline  

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