How long do you need to stay for the Milford Track

How long do you need to stay for the Milford Track?

If you’re here, you’ve probably thought of the same question I did a few months ago, on what was my fifth trip to the Milford Track: How long is the ideal stay? 

It’s a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, isn’t it? Too short, and you miss the magic; too long, and you might start naming the trees. 

Well, I’ve had a lot of time and experience to ponder it, so you’re in luck! Join me on this adventure where we discover the sweet spot for ensuring your Milford experience is just right! 

How long do you need to stay for the Milford Track?

It is best to stay on the Milford Track for at least four days to truly enjoy the experience.

I’m pretty sure most Milford Track veterans will agree with me on this. This can include three overnight stays at cozy huts nestled along the route, ensuring you have ample time to appreciate the beauty of this pristine wilderness. 

Day 1: Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut

Your Milford Track journey begins as you arrive at Glade Wharf and embark on a scenic 10-minute water taxi ride to Sutherland Falls. Once you reach Sutherland Falls, it’s time to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail towards Clinton Hut.

The 5-kilometer hike to Clinton Hut is a pleasant start to your walking adventure, taking about 2-3 hours to complete. Along the way, you’ll traverse enchanting beech forests, offering glimpses of the magnificent Sutherland Falls. 

Upon arrival at Clinton Hut, you’ll find a comfortable shelter with bunk rooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and even the luxury of a hot shower, where you can spend the night.

Day 2: Clinton Hut to Dumpling Hut

Day two is arguably the most picturesque of your journey. While it’s the longest stretch, it’s also the most rewarding in terms of natural beauty. 

The trail winds through diverse landscapes, including lush rainforests, serene beech forests, and picturesque alpine meadows. You’ll be treated to a spectacle of waterfalls, such as the Clinton Falls and the McKinnon Falls.

Though the path is well-graded, there are some challenging uphill sections that will test your stamina, so pace yourself. 

The day ends at Dumpling Hut, another cozy accommodation option complete with bunk rooms, a kitchen, and dining facilities. And yes, you’ll still have access to a rejuvenating hot shower!

Day 3: Dumpling Hut to Mintaro Hut

On the third day, your journey includes the ascent to Mackinnon Pass, the highest point on the Milford Track. The track is again well-graded, but there are steep sections that provide a thrilling sense of accomplishment once you conquer them. 

Along the way, marvel at the stunning Sutherland Falls and the majestic Giant Gate Falls. The changing landscapes continue to captivate, with rainforests, beech forests, and alpine meadows unfurling before you. 

Your day culminates at Mintaro Hut, offering the familiar comforts of bunk rooms, a well-appointed kitchen, and a dining room, as well as the ever-welcome hot shower.

Day 4: Mintaro Hut to Sandfly Point

Your final day on the Milford Track is a relatively gentle walk through beech forests, accompanied by the soothing sound of several waterfalls. 

As you reach Sandfly Point, it’s time to bid farewell to this unforgettable journey. Here, you’ll catch a water taxi that will transport you either to Milford Sound or Te Anau, depending on your preference.

Shorter Options for a Taste of the Milford Track

For those with limited time or hiking experience, there’s a shorter option to experience the Milford Track’s beauty. 

You can hike from Clinton Hut to Sutherland Falls and back, covering a manageable 5 kilometres in 2-to 3 hours. This is an excellent choice for those seeking a brief but memorable encounter with the Milford Track’s splendour.

No matter how long you choose to stay on the Milford Track, whether it’s the full four-day adventure or a shorter excursion, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience. 

This pristine wilderness will leave an indelible mark on your heart, beckoning you to return and explore even more of its natural wonders.

So, pack your gear, lace up your boots, and get ready to embark on an incredible journey through the breathtaking Milford Track.