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Milford Track Day 2: Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut

Milford Track Day 2: Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut

Day 2 of the Milford Track again sees you wandering through the Clinton Valley, taking in heaps of awesome viewpoints along the way. It’s a far harder day than the first, but that just means there are heaps more views to see. The reward for a long day of walking is the picturesque (and newly built) Mintaro Hut – keep reading for all the details!

Leaving Clinton Hut

We left Clinton Hut at 8 am on a cool, cloudy morning. The first bit takes you through some forest sections, with plenty of views of the Clinton River surrounded by mountains. It’s an easy start to the day, and it mostly carries on like this – gradual inclines and nice even tracks. It was a low-key start, but it wouldn’t be long until the sun poked through and the true beauty of the Clinton Valley revealed itself.

A Picturesque Valley

We soon came to a clearing, and it quickly became apparent what a stunning section of track this would be. We took a small side-track to get some of the views, and from there we walked for hours through this picturesque valley.

It had rained a day or two previous, so there were plenty of waterfalls streaming off the cliffs. To get that side of things, as well as perfect sunshine, is what everyone hopes for on the Milford Track – we were lucky.

You’ll get your first view of McKinnon Pass (all the way down the valley) – that’s where you’ll be walking over on day 3. There was also a really nice waterfall right by the track. So many places to stop – definitely a slowish day with all the photo breaks.

Avalanche Paths

We did the Milford Track right at the start of the Great Walks season (late October), and avalanches are a danger at this time. There were several sections where you’re advised not to stop, which happened to be some of the most photogenic spots. There was also a decent-sized stream to cross (it’ll probably be bridged later in the season).

More Awesome Views

The incredible views continue all the way to Mintaro Hut. There’s a shelter where you can stop for a snack, but the sandflies are rampant!

Mintaro Lake is a great spot for a photo, and there’s also a helipad / viewpoint nearby.

Mintaro Hut has been rebuilt recently, around 1 km further down the track. It’s pretty flash compared to the other huts (there are even USB charging stations – something I haven’t seen at any other hut in NZ). It’s really picturesque too, with the mountains surrounding McKinnon Pass looming over the hut.

The Details

It took us around 7 hours to walk from Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut. It was such a great day of hiking, both due to the views and the relative ease of the terrain. Day 3 would be much harder – but even more scenic!

Thinking of doing a Great Walk in New Zealand? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.