Bookings are open for trips to 30 April 2021.
53.5 km one way
In the Great Walks season (27 October 2020 – 30 April 2021):
Best time to walk the track - there are more facilities and fewer hazards. Bookings are required for huts and transport.
Outside the Great Walks season (1 May 2021 – 26 October 2021):
Walking the track should only be attempted by fit, experienced and well-equipped people - facilities are greatly reduced and there are additional hazards.
In the Great Walks season (27 October 2020 – 30 April 2021):
On this page:
Image: John Strother ©
The Milford Track can only be walked in one direction over 3 nights and 4 days.
Consider guided walks on the Miford Track (Destination Fiordland website)
There are 3 huts on the Milford Track, which must be booked well in advance during the Great Walks season. Camping is not permitted on the Milford Track.
Huts have bunks, mattresses, heating, toilets, basic cooking facilities, solar-powered lighting and cold running water. A DOC ranger is in residence. The huts do not provide cooking utensils or showers.
New Zealand citizens and those ordinarily resident in New Zealand:
New Zealand rates:
A 10% discount is available to members, staff and instructors of the following organisations, who also hold a valid 12 month Backcountry Hut Pass: NZ Mountain Safety Council; NZ Federated Mountain Clubs; NZ Deer Stalkers Association; NZ Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR); Scouts New Zealand; GirlGuiding NZ.
Discounts are not available online. To receive the discount we need to sight your membership card and Backcountry Hut Pass, so please visit a DOC visitor centre in person. If you get a discount you won't be charged a booking fee.
Huts must be booked in advance. We'll provide two weeks' notice of the date bookings will open. December/January is usually fully booked within minutes, the remainder of the season is usually fully booked within weeks. Book online
Milford Track starts on Lake Te Anau. From Te Anau, take a bus or private transport to Te Anau Downs (30 minutes), then a boat trip to Glade Wharf at the head of Lake Te Anau (1 hour 15 minutes).
The track finishes at Sandfly Point on Milford Sound. Take a boat trip (20 minutes) to Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, where there are bus services back to Te Anau and on to Queenstown.
Transport must be booked in advance. There is no vehicle or private access to the start/end of the track.
Durng the Great Walks season, full transport packages are available from one of these independent operators. Contact the operator for further information.
To have a safe and enjoyable trip, it's essential you have appropriate clothing and equipment. Find out what to take.
The track will not be suitable for all walkers. Parts of the Milford Track are exposed, steep, slippery, rough and muddy. On the third day you will climb over 500 m to Mackinnon Pass and then descend 1000 m to Dumpling Hut. On the fourth day you must walk 18 km, reaching Sandfly Point in time to meet the early afternoon boat.
Weather conditions can change quickly in any season. Fiordland National Park experiences very high rainfall (up to 9000 mm per year) and weather conditions can change quickly in any season. Cold temperatures, snow, strong winds and heavy rain can occur at any time of the year. Be prepared for all conditions. Check the Fiordland National Park weather forecast (MetService website). View current conditions on the MacKinnon Pass webcam.
Milford Track in November - cold temperatures, snow, strong winds and heavy rain can occur anytime.
The risk of avalanche can extend into December. During the Great Walks season DOC manages this risk to a low level and walkers may be flown (at their cost) over dangerous sections.
There is no cellphone coverage.
Your safety is your responsibility. Know the Outdoor Safety Code - 5 simple rules to help you #makeithome.
Time: 1–1 hr 30 min
Distance: 5 km
After a boat cruise fromTe Anau Downs (1 hour 15 minutes), take a leisurely walk through beautiful beech forest along the banks of the Clinton River to Clinton Hut, where all walkers spend the firstnight. Once you arrive, take some time to checkout the great swimming holes near the hut, or take a short walk around the wetland boardwalk.
Time: 15 min return
A short side track is signposted 10 min before Clinton Hut. Guided walks with the DOC ranger maybe available during the late afternoon.
Time: 6 hr
Distance: 16.5 km
A gradual climb follows the Clinton River to its source, Lake Mintaro, at the base of the renowned Mackinnon Pass. Past Hirere Falls you will get your first view of Mackinnon Pass and the impressive Pompolona icefield. You’ll be dwarfed by the sheer scale of the rock walls towering above on either side as you walk up the Clinton Valley, and will pass through changing vegetation as you climb higher towards Mintaro Hut.
Note, Mintaro Hut could pose a risk in the event of a severe earthquake. For full details, see Know before you go on the Mintaro Hut page.
Time: 6–7 hr
Distance: 14 km
Climb to Mackinnon Pass and the memorial to explorer Quintin McKinnon, with exceptional views of Lake Mintaro and the Clinton Canyon along the way. The memorial is a great place to take in the awe-inspiring panoramas, before reaching the highest point of the track and Mackinnon Pass Shelter (1154 m).
From here, you’ll drop steadily through an attractive alpine garden to the valley floor, passing several waterfalls along the Roaring Burn River before arriving at Quintin Shelter. On the way to Dumpling Hut take a moment to admire Sutherland Falls in the distance.
Time: 1 hr 30 min return
The side trip to Sutherland Falls is a definite highlight that is highly recommended and well worth the effort. The impressive falls drop 580 m in 3 leaps from Lake Quill.
Sutherland Falls on Google Street View
Time: 5 hr 30 min – 6 hr
Distance: 18 km
From Dumpling Hut, follow Arthur River to the historic Boatshed. Further along the track, you will reach the dramatic Mackay Falls and intriguing Bell Rock. Admire the man-made rock cuttings alongside the Arthur River and Lake Ada, before spending the last 3 km on a smooth, wide track constructed by a prison labour gang between 1890 and 1892.
A short boat ride from Sandfly Point will take you to your journey’s end, with world-famous views of Milford Sound/Piopiotahi along the way.
Outside the Great Walks season (1 May 2020 - 26 October 2020):
Walking the track at this time should only be attempted by fit, experienced and well equipped people
Milford Track is partially open
Until 30 November 2020, the section between Dumpling Hut and Sandfly Point is closed due to signficant storm damage.
While the track is repaired, you can only do a return walk from Glade Wharf. Until 27 October 2020, you can go far as Dumpling Hut (Dumpling Hut will be closed from 27 October to 29 November 2020).
Many of the bridges are removed over winter to avoid damage from avalanches, so you must be competent at crossing large, swift, icy rivers.
The track over Mackinnon Pass is not marked and is often covered in deep snow. You will need to have navigation and alpine skills to traverse this section of the track. View current conditions on the MacKinnon Pass webcam.
Thick snow blankets Mackinnon Pass
During the winter months Fiordland can be very wet and cold. Daylight is limited and the high mountains let little sunlight into the valleys. Alpine areas are usually covered in snow. Dress for these conditions.
The Milford Track is mainly complex avalanche terrain. Avalanches are frequent. There are over 57 avalanche paths, which may bring avalanche debris to the valley floor. Some of these have the potential to cross the Milford Track – their start zones cannot be seen from the track.
If you are going into places avalanches could occur, be sure you:
For all visitors:
All transport must be arranged before starting the track. During winter, transport operators require minimum numbers and do not always operate a daily service. Transport arrangements can be affected by bad weather. You must discuss an alternative option with transport operators before you begin your walk.
Contact a transport operator for information:
You need to be totally self-sufficient. In addition to what to take in the Great Walks season, you also need:
|Te Rua-o-te-moko / Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre|
|Phone:||+64 3 249 7924|
|Fax:||+64 4 471 1117|
Fiordland National Park
Te Anau 9600
PO Box 29
Te Anau 9640
|Full office details|
Take five minutes and learn how to prepare for a multiday tramp and #MakeItHomeNZ.
Liz Carlson, of the popular travel blog Young Adventuress, recently walked the Milford Track and has some exclusive, what you should know before you go, insights to share with us…
Air New Zealand is a national partner with DOC for conservation, and is proud to support DOC's Great Walks.