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Days required: 8
95 Kms / 59.2 miles
Track difficulty: Hard
The logistics and planning required for a week of hiking on the Milford and Routeburn Tracks can be a little overwhelming. So we've planned out your whole itinerary to make sure that you are able to relax and simply enjoy your Classic Guided Walk.
From your Pre-Track Briefing to ensure that you are adequately prepared, to lunch stops throughout each day, ensuring that you don't miss any of the track highlights, a spectacular cruise on Milford Sound and even a night in Te Anua between tracks. We've thought of everything to ensure your safety and comfort.
Day 0: Pre Track Briefing
On the afternoon before your departure you are required to attend a Pre-Track Briefing at the Ultimate Hikes Centre, Ground Floor, The Station Building, Queenstown or in Te Anau.
Here you will receive a complete outline of your walk (Milford Track),collect equipment, purchase last minute items, complete the required medical forms, and ask any questions that you may have. It is also a good opportunity to meet your fellow walkers.
Please advise our reservations department if you are unable to attend the Pre-Track Briefing (strongly advised to attend).
Day 1 : Queenstown - Te Anau - Glade House
The adventure begins at our Queenstown office where you board a coach to Te Anau, arriving in time for lunch and a group photo. From Te Anau Downs harbour, a launch takes up to the head of Lake Te Anau. From the wharf it's a short walk to the historic Glade House for afternoon tea.
Afterwards the guides take you on a short nature walk to explore the area. After a hot shower and three-course meal it's time to get some rest in the snug beds either in the multi-share bunk rooms or private ensuite rooms.
Day 2: Glade House - Pompolona Lodge
After crossing the emerald green Clinton River you walk up the valley to the Hirere Falls lunch shelter. The beech forest gets more luxuriant the farther you go, until it releases you on to the Prairie. From this meadow you can capture the true nature of the ice-carved Clinton Canyon. It is a short climb to Pompolona Lodge from here.
Day 3: Pompolona Lodge - Quintin Lodge via Mackinnon Pass
This is the most demanding day, especially in inclement weather. The track leads to Lake Mintaro at the head of the Clinton Valley, before climbing the Mackinnon Pass in a series of zig-zags. Take your time and enjoy the views. At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular panorama and lunch in Pass Hut. After the rocky decent into the Arthur Valley you will welcome a hot cup of tea at Quintin Lodge. This should be enough to refresh you for the optional 90 minute round trip to the Sutherland Falls, the world's fifth highest waterfall.
Day 4: Quintin Lodge - Mitre Peak Lodge via Sandfly Point
You walk down the Arthur Valley to Boatshed; after a short break you will continue on past Mackay Falls and Bell Rock (which was carved out of the river during a particularly violent flood) and on to the lunch spot at Giant's Gate waterfall. The final stretch of track follows tranquil Lake Ada to Sandfly Point.
From here it is a short boat trip to the renowned Mitre Peak Lodge, the only accommodation at Milford Sound offering superb views of Mitre Peak. Here you will enjoy a celebratory dinner with the magnificence of Milford Sound right in front of you.
Day 5: Milford Sound - Te Anau
Wake to the tranquillity of Fiordland and after breakfast experience a magical cruise on Milford Sound. Watch for the dolphins and fur seals and pray for rain, as you've only seen Fiordland at its most incredible when the waterfalls are in full flow.
You will spend the night at Te Anau. Dinner and breakfast is not included.
Day 6: Te Anau/Divide to Lake Mackenzie
The second part of your adventure begins when you meet the coach and travel from Te Anau to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road. You will climb the wide and well formed track from the Divide to the optional ascent to Key Summit. Here you can sit among the alpine plants and gaze down three valleys from which water flows to three different coasts.
You then carry on to Lake Howden hut for a hot drink and picnic lunch, before gradually climbing through lush silver beech forest to the base of Earland Falls, quite a sight in wet weather! Further along the track, the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of the Darren Mountains come into view before we make our descent to Lake Mackenzie Lodge.
Day 7: Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls
You leave the ancient forest draped in moss and lichen and enter the world of daisies, buttercups, gentians and edelweiss. Here you have a full vista of the Darran Mountains across the Hollyford Valley, which slices through Fiordland to the distant Tasman Sea at Martin's Bay. After lunch at the Harris Saddle, you can ascend Conical Hill for a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks. After walking around Lake Harris you descend into the upper basins of the Routeburn Valley, with the towering mountains above. Spend your final night of luxury at the beautifully located Routeburn Falls Lodge where you will be treated to another celebratory dinner.
Facilities in our Milford and Routeburn Track wilderness lodges include:
Comfortable beds with duvets and pillows
Hot water showers
Shampoo, conditioner and hair dryers
Generated electricity until 10pm each evening
Hand washing facilities and washing powder
Full kitchen and lodge staff
Selection of NZ wines, beers and soft drinks for purchase
Enjoy excellent Kiwi cuisine
After an invigorating day on the Milford and Routeburn Tracks you will have worked up an appetite. Our lodges have full kitchens and our staff have been working to make sure your time inside on The Classic is as memorable as your time outside.
Enjoy a snack and cold drink when you arrive at the lodge. A three course dinner follows: hearty homemade soup; a traditional New Zealand main; fresh garden salad followed by dessert, tea and coffee. A selection of New Zealand wine, beer and soft drinks are available for purchase from our bars throughout your evening.
A hot cuppa will be ready and waiting for early risers and breakfast offers a selection of fruit and cereal or a full cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs. Your guides will lay everything out for you to make your own picnic lunch on the way out: a delicious sandwich and your choice of fruit and energy snacks to keep you going through the day. Lunch is on route, but a hot drinks will be waiting for you when you stop.
Accommodation options on The Classic include:
MULTISHARE: 4-6 people in bunkstyle rooms with shared bathroom facilities
PRIVATE QUEEN: 1-2 people in a private room with queen bed and private ensuite bathroom
PRIVATE TWIN: 1-2 people in a private room with two single beds and private ensuite bathroom
The Classic 8 day/7 night guided walk departs 5 times per week between the 1st of November and the 8th of April. There are no minimum numbers required for the trip to depart and we can cater for a maximum of 40 people per departure - the Milford Section may hold up to 50 people.
Your Classic Guided Walk includes transport to and from the track; track accommodation; accommodation in Te Anau in between the Milford and Routeburn Walks; breakfasts, lunches and dinners; snacks; backpacks and rain jackets. Accommodation is provided in our comfortable wilderness lodges and you will be led by our expert guides.
'Ultimate Hikes has it down to an art and it would be difficult to see how anyone could do it better.'