Last Updated: 15th Mar 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Milford Track

Te Anau, Southland

Submitted by Andre Chalmers

Last Updated: 15th Mar 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done

Open

Grunt Factor: 78 ?

Gnarl Factor: 40 ?

53.5km

1700m

1700m

1154m

  

  

  

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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Mountainous

Native bush

Lakeside

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup

50%
25%
25%

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +7.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -8.9%

Trailhead

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Estimated Times to Run

12:00

Slow

9:00

Moderate

6:00

Fast

The finest run in the land! High praise and to be fair there are some insanely good trails in New Zealand but you can't compare them till you have done this one! One of the few trails with no vehicle access, no cattle or farms, no houses, no hunters just pure nature and her awesomeness!

If you thought driving the Milford Road was awe inspiring....the track is the real experience where you don't just use your eyes....you feel.

This must be close to the hardest track to complete in NZ just from a planning perspective, there are only two options in the summer season, go South to North and walk it over 4 days 3 nights (which is not what wild things do) or run the whole 53.5 km in one day!
When running it in a day it can be done in both directions, the North to South option is considered reverse direction.

Only in the shoulder season does it become more viable to run with the possibility of staying in a hut to shorten the run length (best month for this is May, avoid October because of rivers and avalanches) so if you are an intermediate runner try for this option.
If you are a novice please don't run this track in a day, walk it then you will know what you are in for.
If you are more experienced go with a group of runners because you have limited time and sunlight and have to get to the other end for your boat (hence you should go in summer). Take a locator beacon and note this one is hard to do solo though certainly possible.

Note that there are many side trails to explore and sites to see such as waterfalls that you will probably have to miss, however advanced runners may have the energy and the time to do these at their own discretion.

This was historically a Māori greenstone trail so has been used for hundreds of years.
This is also a rare bird sanctuary! Numerous sightings can be made of Kea, Weka, South Island Robin, Kaka, New Zealand Pigeon, Yellow Crowned Parakeet, Tomtit, Bellbird and Tui just to name a few. The really rare ones if you are lucky are the Takahē, Blue Duck, Rock Wren and New Zealand Falcon. The alpine plants especially around the pass are very unique and worth a closer look when you have the time...

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

There is plenty of space near the state highway to park your car on the left at Te Anau Downs, if not drive down the 4wd track where there is plenty more space. You will probably need a rental car, get someone to drop you off or organise a bus ride but as you will want to leave at around 6am a car is pretty much the only sensible option.

29 km

21 minutes

Unknown

No

Moderate.

The Milford Track is sometimes described as a highway, the constant use makes most parts of the track easy to follow, watch for the many signs to help you. There are alternate avalanche bypass tracks to be aware of, when conditions are bad these become compulsory so be aware of them.
Several times rock flows make the path less clear, when crossing these keep your eyes peeled for markers. Both ends of the track are in a valley so stick to it, the only time you really get up high is when you go over Mackinnon Pass.
Once you get to Sandfly Point and the end of the track wait for your water taxi. It will drop you at Fishermans Wharf which is actually several kilometres from the normal Milford Sound parking area.
Take this into account if you have a car parked at Milford or you will have to walk like it did!

Non-existent.

Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries

Plenty of water down low. Less once you get up high but there are some neat tarns at the top.

This track is so dangerous at some times of the year it gets closed. Winter is usually a no-no, spring can be really dangerous with avalanches.
Check with DOC and keep an eye on the weather.

The rivers can get high at any time of the year but become especially treacherous in winter conditions when the bridges get removed.
Watch out for avalanches, snow, high rivers and high winds. At several points there are steep drop offs so be careful in those areas.
Check in with the DOC office before any trip and check the weather and any current track issues.
When in doubt don't go (I postponed twice before finally making it on to the the track).
There is no road access so this makes the Milford a very remote track despite its popularity, if you need rescuing it may be hard for SAR to get to you.

Discover Milford Sound Information Centre & Café
Milford Sound Hwy, Milford Sound 9679
http://www.southerndiscoveries.co.nz/milford-sound/discover-milford-sound
The closest food outlet to where you get off the boat at Fishermans Wharf. It may be late though so you might miss out.

Milford Sound Lodge
Milford Sound Hwy, Fiordland National Park 9679
https://www.milfordlodge.com/
If all you need is a drink and a bite to eat pop in here and check it out...much better than driving all the way back to Te Anau for a feed.

Trail Legend

Emma Rogers

Emma Rogers

has completed Milford Track once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Fantastic run.
Some splits for the record :
Total for Sandfly to Glade Wharf was 10:21 elapsed, 9:10 moving
Splits ...
Sandfly -> Dumpling Hut 2:44
Dumpling -> Mintaro 2:55
Mintaro -> Clinton 2:34
Clinton -> Glade 0:34
Side trip to Sutherland Falls (including photos) 58 min

Neil Trimboy

April 26, 2022

Logistics are expensive especially for the single runner, so here's my take based on January 2022 prices.
1: Book the night before at the Milford Lodge ($60 to sleep in a camper or car).
2. Book a 7am water taxi from Deepwater Basin (10min jog from the lodge) to Sandfly Point with Fiordland Outdoors ($50 per person but minimum $200 so I chose a day with others already booked).
3. Book the 3pm pickup at Glade Wharf with FO- $90 if you arrive by 3pm, a standby fee of $150 per hour after 4pm. (arrival between 3-4pm might be free not sure). Importantly FO will wait all evening if necessary whereas Real Journeys have a 4pm boat but they don't wait!
4. Having both tramped and run it recently I personally would'nt stop to chat with hutwardens on the way. But do take an Inreach so you can msg if delayed eg as Matt said, hiking out over Dore Pass the next day is another great option.
5. From Te Anau Downs transport to Te Anau is not included so hopefully your non running partner will have driven the car back from Milford and will be waiting at TAD- Mine was thank the lord! :-)

Mike McManaway

January 11, 2022

Was on the same mission with Wendy Hawkes and it was an epic day out in early November. Waterfalls and streams everywhere to cool off at on a hot day made it that much more fun. Saw a small shark whilst waiting for our water taxi in Milford Sound and a small seal as we got dropped off at Sandfly Point. Lots of Wekas running around for some extra obstacles on our day. Mackinnon Pass was incredible and we saw an avalanche from across the valley reminding us of the dynamic nature of alpine environments. Be sure and check conditions if going earlier in the season!

Chris Seymour

November 10, 2021

Did this run with a group of 8 of us, stayed at Te Anau Downs the night before then took a private shuttle into Milford & did the run in reverse finishing at Sandfly, and a private water taxi out (minimum numbers required but this gave us 10 hours to complete after getting onto the trail just before 8am).

Absolutely stunning day for it, and very warm but a heap of streams/rivers etc. to refill bottles at. We added on Sutherland Falls (only another 4km return but probably an hour by the time we stopped for photos etc.)

Logistically can be tricky & pricey BUT well worth it!!

Note: those sandflys are ferocious ! Make sure you have clothes to cover all exposed body parts if waiting around after. Our water taxi from Sandfly let us organise drop bags to be waiting for us at the end with food/drinks & clothes, well worth it

Wendy Hawkes

November 7, 2021

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