Described by many as one of the best and most beautiful, stunning hiking trails in the world. I had landed in New Zealand and the Milford Track was calling me. 53.5 kilometres (33 miles) of the most splendid glacial carved valleys, forests, alpine passes and waterfalls you can ever imagine to see.
This was hiking (or tramping as they call it in these parts) that takes the senses to the next platform. The overwhelming sights, the gorgeous smells of the forest and the sounds of a whole plethora of wildlife and birds singing. Starting at the head of Lake Te Anau this time in total nature we wander up the Clinton valley, up over the Mackinnon Pass, down the other side before the trail with its mesmerising surrounds eventually finishes at the glorious Milford Sound.
There is so much to show that I shall break it down here into each of the four days. Please note that due to conservation and to avoid crowding this walk ‘must’ be done over four days stopping for the three nights at the huts. And thus also it can only be walked in this one direction. So, as only forty independent walkers are allowed to set off each day, you experience alone with nature, and oh what nature is, purely peaceful.
Right, lets get started. Day one! Well, the easiest day of them all. That doesn’t mean that the viewing of beauty is diminished. The shores of Lake Te Anau was the first destination. The start of the trail is the head of the lake. That means a boat journey that really wets the appetite. It was also time to meet my walking companions, an absolutely fantastic bunch. Four people from around the world that have won the Air New Zealand great walker competition and in the process of taking on all nine of New Zealand’s great walks in nine weeks. What an adventure! It was an honor to do this one walk with them.
At the head of the lake our boots hit the ground. It was time to start the miles, day one includes only less than three of them, an easy start. The wow factor had begun, miles from built up civilisation, the forest at the bottom of the river, absolutely marvelous. The fact that you have lots of time to the first hut means that you can immediately take your time and truly soak in these surroundings. The water so clear, the forest so green and the only noise you hear is the birds in the trees and the river rushing by.
Plenty of miles lay ahead and together with so many incredible views and wonderful moments. The first hut was upon us and time to dream of the next day’s miles. Over the next posts on this track I will also show snippets of wildlife, some history of the area and the great work that is going into conservation to save this paradise for all. And of course the majestic Milford Sound, what a place to finish. See you there!