Milford Track: Day 1

This day started with a 2 hour bus ride from Queenstown to Te Anau where we stopped briefly to pick up boat and hut tickets and change buses. I also sent on a bag of food to meet me in Milford Sound so that I only had to carry my provisions for the next 4 days, rather than the next 8. Te Anau sits at one end of Lake Te Anau and the start of the Milford Track is at the other. This is a beautiful big lake and is NZ’s second largest lake (considering surface area). So to get to the track start, we had a bus ride half way up the lake to the wharf at Te Anau Downs. Then it was a 60 min boat ride to the track. Not a bad way to start a trek, especially with views like this.

View up the lake from the boat travelling to the start of the Milford Track

And this

On the lake nearing the start of the Milford Track

There were a group of us sitting on top of the boat, enjoying the fresh air and views and starting to get to know one another. But eventually the landing spot came into sight,

Land ahoy

and it was time to start walking.

The trail begins

Meanwhile the boat went back ready to bring in the next load of people.

The boat leaves us behind

For the first 15 minutes or so from the lake, the path goes gently through a beautiful forest.

A gentle stroll through the trees to begin

And all around there is so much beauty to soak in.

That would have been loud

Then we come out to a large clearing next to Clinton River.

This is where the guided walkers stop for their first night. Those of us who chose the independent walk, have about 1.5h to our hut for the night. So we cross the river on the first of many swing bridges that we will come across over the next four days.

Just the first swing bridge

And then walk through the forest, never far from the river.

Clinton river was a close companion for much of the walk to hut 1

To our first hut: Clinton Hut. Since those of use on the first boat all got to the hut by lunchtime, the agenda for the rest of the day was to eat lunch then relax down at the swimming hole.

Swimming hole near Clinton Hut

And get to know people some more. There was a little swimming in there too, but the water was still quite cold despite it being such a warm and beautiful day. This early in December, the river still feels like what it mostly is: snow melt. Luckily the sun could defrost us after our dips.

I took about 350 photos while I was on the Milford Track so I didn’t put them all online. A selection of photos taken on day 1, including those posted here, can be found on Flickr.

This post has been reconstructed from the web archives of my old blog. It was originally posted on 18th Jan 2014, and I walked the Milford Track in December 2013.

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