Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Western Endeavour - Issue No.: 938 Issue Date: 22 Nov, 2020

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Clinton River

Trekking the Milford Track in Style with Laurie and Alma Dender

As travel restrictions affect future destinations for Australians, New Zealand appears to be the first option for overseas travel that could arise soon.

The Milford Track guided Walk is a 5 Day 4 Night trek covering 54 kms, with some difficult alpine terrain. It traverses the Heart of New Zealand's Fiordland.

The track starts at Glade Wharf (at the head of Lake Te Anau, access from Te Anau Downs, 27 km from Te Anau). It finishes at Sandfly Point in Milford Sound. 

This description is extracted from The New Zealnd DOC who administer the track  "The Milford Track is a Great Walk and is of a higher standard than most other tracks being well formed and easy to follow. The tracks are usually quite wide depending on the terrain – some fit two people walking side by side in flat areas.The surface is usually gravel, rock or dirt, and like any track can get slippery in wet weather.Most rivers and waterways on these tracks have sturdy bridges. Occasionally there are also small streams that cross the track but are usually easy enough to step across safely. Be aware that in wet weather rivers can rise very quickly and flood the tracks – especially on the Milford Track.There are hill climbs where the track becomes steeper, which is all the better for views."

Laurie and Alma  described their trekking experience with Ultimate Hikes NZ as being outstanding. They had unbelievably perfect weather and showed us cloudless scenes of glaciated valleys and alpine peaks, waterfalls and flood destroyed access. A feature of this environment is rapid changes in the weather with unpredicatble heavy rain, snowfall and flash flooding.  Therefore trekkers are advised to book to trek in the summer seasons.

Glacial Tarn at MacKinnon Pass

Glacial Bowl near the Pass

Laurie and Alma managed to fit this hike between the massive floods that occurred in February 2020 and the Covid-19 crisis which stopped overseas travel in mid March 2020.  As a consequence of the flooding the Giants Gate Bridge was taken out and DOC closed the track.  However, Ultimate Hikes was permitted to use the track and used helicopters to fly out the trekkers from the Boat Shed avoiding the need to do the last few kms.

Rather than repeat the details of the itinerary and accomodation go to this website:

Laurie and Alma recommended that potential trekkers get fit as there are serious climbing days and the track terrain requires one to be nimble and use poles. They spent a couple of months preparing as per the Ultimate hikes recommendations. 

Hiking the Milford Track can also be done using the Department of Conservation (DOC) huts and information on doing it this way can be found here:

Club members congratulated Laurie and Alma on their achievement and excellent presentation.




Author: Marcus Harris

Published: 20 June, 2020


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