New Zealand’s incredible Milford Sound, located on the west coast of the South Island within the Fiordland National Park, is a fiord carved by glaciers during the ice ages. An area of spellbinding natural beauty, this destination attracts visitors year-round to admire dramatic mountain peaks, mesmerising waterfalls, and lush native rainforest. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, the effect on the landscape is spectacular; swelling rivers, cascading waters down granite cliffs and decorating the rainforest with glistening moisture.


New Zealand's most famous walk, the 53 km Milford Track begins at the head of Lake Te Anau, leading across suspension bridges, board walks and a mountain pass. The journey takes in sparkling lakes, soaring mountain peaks and deep valley views; as well as the famous Sutherland Falls, the tallest waterfall in New Zealand. One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, this is a must for keen walkers and nature lovers.


Great Walk tracks are of a higher standard than most other tracks so are well formed and easy to follow. The surface during the walk will vary between gravel, rock or dirt, and can get slippery in wet weather. Most substantial rivers and waterways have sturdy bridges however occasionally there are small streams that cross the track but are easy enough to step across safely. In wet weather rivers can rise very quickly and flood the Track. It is not recommended to undertake the Track outside of Great Walks season which usually runs from early November to end of April.

A wide variety of guided itineraries exist from basic, to luxury and often combine the Milford Track with other famous Fiordland Tracks such as the nearby Routeburn and Kepler Tracks and Milford Sound cruises. These represent the ideal option for those looking for a thorough exploration of this renowned region.


To walk the Milford Track from end to end on a relaxed four-day self-guided itinerary, staying in basic accommodation in bookable Department of Conservation Huts, the journey begins with a boat cruise from Te Anau Downs. The cruise takes just over an hour before a comfortable walk through beautiful beech forest along the banks of the Clinton River to Clinton Hut, where all walkers spend the first night. Once you arrive, discover sparkling swimming holes near the hut, or take a short walk around the wetland boardwalk.


Over 16km is covered on day two which commences with a gradual climb alongside the Clinton River to its source, Lake Mintaro, at the base of Mackinnon Pass. As you trek past Hirere Falls, take the first glimpse of Mackinnon Pass and the vast Pompolona icefield. The climb continues up the Clinton Valley, through changing vegetation, towards Mintaro Hut.

14 km is covered on day three, taking most walkers around six or seven hours. The Track climbs to Mackinnon Pass and the memorial to explorer Quintin McKinnon, with magnificent views over Lake Mintaro and the Clinton Canyon along the way. The memorial offers an ideal rest point to take in the breathtaking panoramas, before reaching the highest point of the track and Mackinnon Pass Shelter (1154 m). The Track drops steadily here through alpine garden to valley floor, passing the waterfalls of the Roaring Burn River before arriving at Quintin Shelter. Accommodation tonight is at Dumpling Hut.


The most challenging distance is covered on day four with 18km to travel. From Dumpling Hut, follow Arthur River to the historic Boatshed. Further on, you will reach the Mackay Falls and Bell Rock. Admire man-made rock cuttings alongside the Arthur River and Lake Ada, before taking the final 3km on a smooth, wide track constructed by a prison labour gang between 1890 and 1892. Another short boat ride from Sandfly Point will take you to the conclusion of your journey, with world-famous views of Milford Sound/Piopiotahi along the way.


While for many, walking the Milford Track end-to-end offers the ultimate adventure, it is possible to enjoy smaller sections or highlights of track. Te Anau is the perfect town to base yourself from to visit Milford Sound. Nestled on the edge of a lake, there are many options for accommodation, such as the four-star Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas. Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas offers chic, elegant accommodation amid extensive, colourful gardens and overlooking spectacular Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland range. A variety of rooms, suites and villas, an onsite bar and restaurant, a spa, sauna and outdoor pool, all make this an excellent choice for convenient accommodation within easy reach of the town centre and exploration further afield.


Tours staying at Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas:

BEST OF FIORDLAND - FOUR TRACKS, MILFORD CRUISE & HELI HIKE 4D3N, FULLY GUIDED

FIORDLAND ADVENTURE WALK & CYCLE (KEPLER HELI HIKE, MILFORD SOUND WALK & CRUISE & LAKE2LAKE TRAIL CYCLING) 3D2N, PARTIALLY GUIDED

GREAT WALKS OF FIORDLAND - THREE TRACKS, HELI HIKE & MILFORD SOUND CRUISE 3D2N, FULLY GUIDED

For a luxurious escape to this bucket-list destination, Fiordland Lodge offers an alluring retreat for the discerning traveller. The Lodge sits on a superb rural site, just 5km from Te Anau township, among rolling grasslands overlooking Lake Te Anau. Inside the Lodge, the open architecture celebrates its natural surroundings with elegant timber construction and a vast latticework of huge log trusses above the large open fire constructed from local river stone. A maximum of 27 guests are accommodated in 10 luxurious rooms in the Lodge and two separate self-contained loft-style Log Cabins. Accommodation features king-size beds, well-appointed private bathrooms and superb views. Log cabins provide secluded accommodation for a maximum of five guests separate to the main lodge.



Tours staying at Fiordland Lodge:

THE ULTIMATE LUXURY FIORDLAND WALK - THREE TRACKS, MILFORD CRUISE & HELI HIKE 3D2N, FULLY GUIDED

THE ULTIMATE LUXURY FIORDLAND WALK - FOUR TRACKS, MILFORD CRUISE & HELI HIKE 4D3N, FULLY GUIDED

Milford Sound is home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins. This fascinating marine ecology can be explored at Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory offering views of rare black coral and other marine life.

Boat tours are also a popular way to explore. Boat cruises – during the day or overnight – are an excellent way to explore the Sound. Combining the Milford Track with a Milford Sound Cruise provides an excellent full spectrum experience.


Milford Walk with scenic day cruise:

ICONIC FIORDLAND - FOUR TRACKS, MILFORD SOUND OVERNIGHT CRUISE & HELI HIKE 5D4N, FULLY GUIDED

Milford Walk with overnight cruise:

BEST OF FIORDLAND - FOUR TRACKS, MILFORD CRUISE & HELI HIKE 4D3N, FULLY GUIDED

FIORDLAND & MILFORD SOUND CYCLE, KAYAK & WALK + MILFORD SOUND OVERNIGHT CRUISE 5D4N, FULLY GUIDED

On the ‘Just Milford’ and ‘Just Milford Luxury’ tours, walk the Milford Track by day and enjoy a Milford Sound overnight cruise combining the 'must-do' experiences in Fiordland over two days. On the ‘Just Milford’ experience, accommodation in comfortable twin/double private cabins with ensuites onboard the Mariner is included, while on the ‘Just Milford Luxury’ tour, accommodation is on a luxury vessel in a private sea view cabin with a King size or twin beds and an ensuite bathroom with toilet and shower. Both immersive tours allow access to this vast and pristine environment, after dusk, when the crowds have dispersed and the mirror-like surface of the Sound reflects the magical moonlight, and its marine inhabitants can be observed in blissful serenity.