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New Zealand Wide
The Milford Track
New Zealand has a number of world famous walking tracks with 9 of these being classed as ‘Great Walks’. These tracks are maintained by the Department of Conservation and are popular spots throughout the year, for both tourists and local visitors. In this article we take you on a tour of the Milford Track and give you some tips and tricks to make your visit the best it can be.
When you walk along the Milford Track in Fiordland, you follow the steps taken by early explorers. The journey will be through glacier carved valleys and ancient rainforests. There will be ample opportunities to test your camera. The stunning beauty of the Mackinnon Pass will enthrall you for years to come.
The Milford Track is 53.5 kilometers long. It begins at the Glade Wharf (27 kilometers distant from Te Anau) and terminates at the Sandfly Point located in Milford Sound. Other than Mackinnon Pass, the emerald waters of Clinton River and a trip to Sutherland Falls are a must.
There are three huts to stay in along the way as you explore the track and all need to be booked in advance at peak times, such as Easter & summer.
Visitors enjoying the Milford track during Great Walks season (October 25, 2015 to April 21, 2016) can enjoy the following facilities:
> Bunks fitted with mattresses. All visitors have to sleep in a communal layout.
> Flushing toilets and wash basins are available. You can enjoy the cold running water and an adequate water supply. There are, however, no showers.
> Solar lighting in each hut. Heating with fuel is available.
> Cooking facilities come with fuel, seating, and tables.
A resident DOC ranger will be present and they can advise you about the weather and the environment. They can also help in case of an emergency. However, if you visit Milford Track outside Great Walks season (April 28, 2016 to October 24, 2016) the facilities will be reduced.
> You must have a cooking stove with you. Gas supply is unavailable out of season.
> Pit toilets replace flush toilets.
> The huts have no running water. The outside water tank has a supply of water. In case it is frozen, you have to use melting snow or use water from a nearest water course.
> DOC rangers will not be available.
> Beds are on first come and first serve only.
You need good quality outdoor safety clothes when you make the trip, including rainwear, no matter what time of the year it is. Do take the right gear before you put your best foot forward on your adventure. A pair of Blundstone boots and NZ made cargo pants are the compulsory items you must pack. It is wise to contact the DOC Visitor Center to know the weather and the condition of the track.
All walkers must have first aid kits. If you are going on an out of season adventure, take a personal locator or a mountain radio. It is best that you take both. Do remember that mobile phones will not work as there is no coverage on the Milford Track.
There is a real danger of being lost if you lose sight of the track. In case you lose your way, find any shelter and remain calm. Wear extra clothing and try to identify your location to help rescuers find you. If you fall ill or suffer injuries, use first aid kit and contact the DOC staff.
Weather conditions on the track are extremely variable and you can suffer from extreme cold during cold, windy and wet conditions. This leads to the core body temperature dropping quickly and if this happens the beginning stages of unconsciousness can begin within a short period of time. To prevent this you should wear warm & waterproof wet weather high visibility clothing
during the walk. You should also eat regularly and keep hydrated.
To really make the most of your experience on the Milford Track you need to be prepared for any eventuality and high quality outdoor gear in Auckland from Westland Workgear can help you do that. Westland Workgear is the perfect place to shop for all kinds of outdoor wear, including Blundstone boots and NZ made cargo pants.
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