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Milford Track Day 1: Te Anau to Clinton Hut

Milford Track Day 1: Te Anau to Clinton Hut

If you’re a Kiwi reading this, you’ll probably already know that the Milford Track is one of the most iconic walks in New Zealand. It takes you from the shores of Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound, through two of the most beautiful valleys you’ll ever see. I’ll be writing a post for each day of the walk (four) and then one to sum it all up at the end.

Te Anau to the Start of the Milford Track

You’ll need to organise transport when walking the Milford Track. From Te Anau you’ll have a short bus ride, and from there it’s an hour cruise to the northern end of Lake Te Anau.

It’s such a treat to cruise though scenery like this at any time, but it’s extra exciting when it’s the start of a four-day journey through some of the best bits of Fiordland National Park.

The lake eventually narrows, and soon you’ll be pulling up to the start of the track. Such a stunning start to what we hoped would be an incredible experience (and it was!).

Starting the Milford Track

Day 1 on the Milford Track is about as easy as Great Walks in New Zealand get. It’s a 5 km / 90-minute stroll down the Clinton Valley, with the river as a constant companion. It’s such a pristine place – even on a slightly cloudy day the water looked bright and clear.

During valley walks like this you’ll often get frustrated by the lack of clearings and views. Not here! There are several spots where you’ll see the mountains looming over the valley. The views only get better from here though – as King Leonidas would say – “A good start”.

A Quick Detour

Towards the end of this section you’ll see a turnoff to a wetland area. It’s only a few minutes from the main track and is well worth a quick look. From there it’s an easy walk to Clinton Hut.

Clinton Hut

The first hut you’ll sleep in on the Milford Track is also the most basic. You’ll notice straight away (as soon as you take your bag and boots off) that the Milford Track has a serious sandfly problem. Bring plenty of bug spray and try not to get too frustrated by them! I’ll go into more details about huts, packing and heaps more in my summary post, so stay tuned for that. And day 2 isn’t far away – it was an awesome day on the trail.

Are you planning on walking the Milford Track? Let me know in the comments below!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.

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