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Lake Te Anau in a sombre mood
Lake Te Anau in a sombre mood

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Route No 102 - Monday 22 March 2004
A day walk on the Milford Track . . .

 


| New Zealand Index | Waiheke Island | QueenCharlotte's Track | Franz Josef Glacier | The Milford Track |

Glade Wharfe at the start of the Milford TrackWe met our minibus outside our hotel just after 9.00am and were taken to Te Anau Downs where we caught the ferry to take us up the lake to the start of the Milford Track. Access to the Milford Track is strctly controlled by the Government Department of Conservation. You're not allowed to camp and accommodation to walk the track is fully booked for well over a year in advance. Most people seem to use a guided walking service which at least guarantees you access and accommodation. The weather was wet with low cloud and the steep mountains plunged out of the cloud into the lake giving the whole place a dark almost sinister feel. The ferry dropped us off at a wooden jetty at the head of the lake. The was absolutely nothing Glade Wharfe at the start of the Milford Trackthere except the jetty and the thick tangled rain forest - it was wonderful. Our guide was a young woman native to Te Anau. She led us up a dry stream bed away from the track climbing the hillside behind the jetty for almost an hour to a point where we joined a fast flowing stream. This had overflowed about a year ago after a violent storm creating the bed we had just climbed. There was a great view now back up Lake Te Anau. After a short break we made our way along a narrow path through the dense rain forest descending the hillside at an angle to the Milford track until we joined the track at a wobbly suspension bridge over the Clinton River just beyond Glade House, where the guided walkers spend Looking to Lake Te Anau from above the Milford Trackthe first night. Their ferry does not arrive at the start of the track until around three in the afternoon. We crossed the suspension bridge and followed the track to the independent walkers first overnight stop at Clinton Hut where we had our lunch. As soon as we stopped walking there were hoards of biting black flies just a few millimetres long and we were quickly driven inside into the steamy atmosphere of the communal self cooking room, but it was much better than being bitten. After lunch our group broke up to make our own way back along the track to the jetty for the ferry at 4.00pm. We took the opportunity of going a few yards off the path to the shingle beaches by the river to get some photos of the mountains. The scenery was amazing and it seems that as the walk progresses it just goes on getting better culminating in the Sutherland Falls.

Lake Te Anau looking to the start of the Milford Track at the head of the lake
Lake Te Anau looking to the start of the Milford Track at the head of the lake


Rain forest vegetation on the Milford Track
Rain forest vegetation on the Milford Track

Mountains by the Clinton River
Mountains by the Clinton River

The Clinton River by the Milford Track
The Clinton River by the Milford Track

Mountains by the Milford Track
Mountains by the Milford Track

Mountains by the Clinton River
Mountains by the Clinton River