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“Self-guided hike: Do it! But be prepared”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Milford Track

Milford Track
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Full-Day Milford Sound Walk and Cruise Including Scenic Flights from Queenstown
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Great Walks season is October - April. Outside this period facilities are greatly reduced and there are additional safety hazards to consider. Always check the website for changes that might affect your trip. See website for the price of accommodation on this track.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
“Self-guided hike: Do it! But be prepared”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

The Milford Track is a spectacular hike which I would strongly recommend - but it isn't a walk in the park and warrants a few more words of caution than I came across when doing my research.

We did the self-guided hike, so here is the lowdown for those considering it:

Book early:
- Really early. We booked six months in advance and got the last two spots for our dates.

- For us, self-guided was definitely the way to go, you are in control of your pace, your side trips and feel like you're stepping into the shoes of a "real" tramper.
- Fairly basic conditions: bunk rooms, no showers, limited hours of lighting. Which is perfect for suburban dwellers like myself as it gives you some downtime from gadgets and luxuries and you earn that feeling of achievement (prove to yourself that, yes, you can survive without your skinny latte for a couple of days). Saying that, the huts have gas for cooking, fireplaces and proper toilets so there are some luxuries!
- It's all communal and you will be staying with the same 40 people everyday. But the fact that they're organised and interested enough to book the self-guided means you will at least have something in common. We met some wonderful people and had a fantastic time.

What to take:
- You need to take everything with you except water and gas. Pots or pans, bottles, utensils, bedding are not provided. Dehydrated meals will become your new best friend. Tap water is safe as is the water from streams. Bring a camera, of course. Headlamps or a torch are essential as there is no electricity apart from lights in the dining room for two hours at night and in the morning, no lighting at all in the bunk rooms. Insect repellant.
- Bin bags. What you take in, you must take out again. There are no bins, so you need to carry your rubbish with you the whole 4 days
- WATERPROOF stuff. Lots of it. And i don't mean prepare for drizzle. Prepare for non-stop, heavy rain for the entire 6-8 hours of every day you walk. And prepare for feet getting completely submerged in "puddles". Then if it's dry, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise!
- A change of clothes. Because you will get soaked through even with fancy waterproofs, and they won't dry overnight.
- Ear plus if you're a light sleeper. There will be at least one snorer.
- Ibuprofen if you get knee pain

The walk:
- Stunning. Each day is different, from walking amongst the trees to mountain sides to waterfalls and valleys.
- If the weather is dry, this walk is very easy for someone reasonably fit, and a medium walk for someone with average/moderate fitness. However, chances are the weather won't be dry - which means you need to take it slow, concentrate more and get wet and cold in the process, so it gets harder for everyone.
- BE CAREFUL ON DAY 2 if it has been raining. The recent tragedy experienced on this walk shows how deadly this track can turn in bad weather. There is a small basic shelter called Bus Stop where you should wait if the river looks too hard to cross. The water level can rise and fall dramatically within a short time period so if in doubt, it is better to wait. Yes, you'll be a bit cold and miserable, but it's worth it to be safe.
- If you have a dodgy knee, bring poles for support on Day 3 when there is a long stint of downhill. Not very steep but just goes on for hours.

Why do it?
- I've personally never experienced landscape like this anywhere else. It is just beautiful.
- Its a great way to immerse yourself in the nature of New Zealand
- You don't need to contend with altitude sickness, snakes, crowds, litter like some other hikes in the world

Everyone will have a different opinion and experience but I hope this helps others when planning their trip.

Visited April 2014
64 Thank EmmaB36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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267 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
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English first
Oklahoma City, OK
Level Contributor
52 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Good alternative to a 5 day hike”
Reviewed 17 May 2014

We booked a one day hike with Real Journeys. I wish we could have taken 4-5 days to do the whole track but this was a great alternative. The tour was led by a very knowledgeable and friendly host. It included a boat ride across Lake Te Anua.

Visited March 2014
5 Thank otsnow63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mt Tamborine, Queensland
Level Contributor
102 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Magnificent experience with Ultimate Hikes”
Reviewed 26 April 2014

I did this Ultimate Hikes trek nearing 75 yrs of age with my two 50-ish daughters who romped it in. Don't be mislead by reading the review that refers to this guided hike as the one for softies. True, it is superbly supported by fantastic guides who walk with you and provide you with hot drinks en route just when you need reviving, by comfortable beds in huts, by hot showers at night and by wonderful 3-course meals; however, it is you who has to do the walking including demanding climbs and a particularly taxing descent. What needs to be said about this trek over and over again is the sheer beauty, the grandeur of the mountains & the huge trees and the delicate detail of the fiord land vegetation. We were so fortunate to have great weather, including atmospheric sweeping clouds at the pass with only snatches of view and a performance by a group of alpine keas. The colour of all the streams and waterfalls was breath-taking - glacial and pure - shades of blue and some dazzling greens.

Visited April 2014
19 Thank Delle_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gladstone, Australia
Level Contributor
255 reviews
96 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Brilliant hike”
Reviewed 23 April 2014

Check out the official websites and make a booking

The walk is great whether you are guided for the softies or self guided for the real hikers. The scenery is amazing, the huts are great, the level of difficulty is medium i suppose. Take some good wet weather gear, your friends, maybe a snifter of whiskey and a good camera. Absolutely loved it and will be back soon to do more of the great hikes.

Visited February 2014
4 Thank rodgtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maffra, Australia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Independent lucky walker”
Reviewed 20 April 2014

Great walk with a great group of people. Nice during the day and rain at night. Cloudy as we walked up to the pass but the clouds parted and wow. Pack your ear plugs for the snorers. And extra food if you are staying at Milford sound.

Visited April 2014
4 Thank tcrooke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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