Milford Sound offers more than just boarding a boat and taking in the breathtaking landscape. There are numerous Milford Sound walks that take you through breathtaking scenery and to unmissable viewing points. Here are the best walking tracks to let you enjoy the beautiful scenery in Milford Sound, such as Hollyford Track, Routeburn Track, and Gertrude Saddle.
7 Best Walking Tracks In Milford Sound
Milford Foreshore Walk
On the Milford Foreshore Walk, take a leisurely flat stroll along the boardwalks before the stunning Milford Sound. Enjoy the scenery while standing on the waterfront between brief areas of flax and beech forest. Information panels set along the path provide descriptions of the history of Milford Sound as well as its flora and fauna. The sandy waterfront is accessible from the trail and is a photographer’s dream.
Location: On the coastline of Milford Sound, signposted from the main parking lot.
Take the Gertrude Saddle Route and follow the track markers through some alpine forest for those feeling more daring. Take a steam climb with the help of steel cables after crossing the Gertrude Stream to test your fear of heights. Enjoy amazing views of steep valleys, Black Lake, and Milford Sound (in part) from the saddle. The same route back. Due to the potential for avalanches in the area, this hike should not be performed in the winter. Your best bet is to avoid frozen tracks during the summer.
Location: The Gertrude Saddle Walk begins at the Gertrude Valley parking lot. The parking lot is located 98 kilometers (61 miles) down Milford Road from Te Anau.
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The Lookout Track
You cannot possibly miss this one because it is so swift! Head to the back of the cafe at the Milford Sound parking lot for a stunning view of Milford Sound framed by native flora. Near the beginning of The Lookout Track, there is a sign describing Donald Sutherland’s burial. From here, a short ascent leads to a platform with an excellent vantage point of Milford Sound. Going back the way you came
Location: On the coast of Milford Sound, behind the café. A Department of Conservation (DoC) sign and Donald Sutherland’s tomb serve as markers for the route.
Routeburn Track: The Key Summit
The Routeburn Track: Key Summit is for you if you’re up for a zig-zagging ascent to some of Milford Road’s most breathtaking views. Make your way up a well-formed track through native bush beginning at The Divide car park. Get some breathtaking views of the glacier-carved mountains and lakes as you reach the summit. Utilize the boardwalks that lead to the numerous viewing platforms to explore this exposed alpine shrubland. The same route back.
Location: The hike starts from the clearly marked Divide Car Park, about 85 kilometers (53 miles) from Te Anau along Milford Road.
The Hollyford Track
The Hollyford Track is regarded as Milford Road’s multi-day “off-the-beaten-track” excursion. It is a well-maintained route that is open all seasons and has respectable cottages for travelers to rest in. Follow the Hollyford River as it travels through breathtaking alpine landscapes before reaching Martins Bay. You might be fortunate enough to spot seals, penguins, and numerous species along the coast.
This trail is one-way, so you may either go back that way to make it an eight-day trip or make transportation arrangements from Martins Bay with one of the numerous shuttle companies in the region.
Location: The Hollyford Track starts at the unpaved Lower Hollyford Road’s terminus. About 85 kilometers (53 miles) from Te Anau, Hollyford Road departs from Milford Road.
The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s top hiking trails. Only novice trampers are permitted on the track between 24 October and 30 April. Be warned that reservations for huts on this well-known climb must be made far in advance (we’re talking about a year). You’ll also need to reserve water and road transportation at both ends of the track. The Milford Track leads to Sutherland Falls, New Zealand’s tallest waterfall, which plunges a tremendous 580 meters (1,902ft). Additionally, breathtaking panoramic vistas of old glacier-carved valleys will be available from mountain passes. Wildlife, native vegetation, and green river waters can all be viewed when taking this well-liked multi-day excursion.
Location: Glades Wharf, where there is a scheduled boat service, is where the Milford Track begins at the head of Lake Te Anau. Alternatively, Te Anau Downs, which is around 27 kilometers (17 miles) down Milford Road from Te Anau, is where you may reserve a water taxi.
Lake Gunn Nature Walk
The Lake Gunn Nature Walk leads you through a moss-covered red beech woodland and into what appears to be an enchanted forest. A number of information panels detailing the plants and fauna of this typical forest in Fiordland National Park may be found along the flat, well-maintained track. To enhance your chances of spotting some of the fascinating native birds, we advise taking this stroll gently. Compared to the other walks on this list of Milford Sound hikes, the Lake Gunn Nature Walk is typically a quieter easy-walking track alternative off Milford Road.
Location: This hike begins at the Cascade Creek campground, which is located 78 kilometers (48 miles) from Te Anau on Milford Road. The pedestrian path is identified by brown signage beside the road.
Best Time To Walk In Milford Sound
In general, people looking for a bit of moderate weather and fewer crowds should go in December and March-April. Additionally, penguins and seals in the area are more active in the autumn. Remember that the popular Milford Track is uncontrolled from May to mid-October (i.e., from fall to spring), and most Department of Conservation (DOC) lodges are closed. Besides those with extensive experience, hiking is not advised during this period.
You should always have some rain gear and water-resistant clothing with you because of the heavy precipitation. To avoid getting bitten by sand flies, bring enough covered clothing, netting, and insect repellent. During the warmer months, humidity can be rather high, so pack plenty of water and remain hydrated.