CREO Architecture

Milford Track, Fiordland

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  • Dock Bay Lodge
  • Dock Bay Lodge
  • Dock Bay Lodge
  • Dock Bay Lodge
  • Dock Bay Lodge
  • Dock Bay Lodge

The Milford Track is undoubtedly the most famous tramp in New Zealand, an iconic trip in to the heart of Fiordland.  It is a showpiece tramp, embodying all the scenery that makes Fiordland such a tourist draw card.

In the late 1870's NZ was trying hard to attract settlers and the government saw tourism as a means to entice people.  Milford Sound and the Sutherland Falls (at the time thought to be the highest waterfall in the world) were big drawcards.  The trip involved a boat ride from Bluff through treacherous waters around the south coast of the South Island and more than a few ladies and gentlemen lost their lunch.  Local surveyor named Quintin MacKinnon set off up the Clinton Valley with his mate Ernest Mitchell and spent several days living off the land.  On the 16th October 1988 they crossed the pass at the head of the valley (MacKinnon Pass) and thereby established the Milford Track.  Infrastructure developed with the construction of huts at the mouth of the Clinton River, MacKinnon' Hut opposite Neale Burn and Pompolona Camp, sometimes employing prison gangs and private contractors to upgrade the trail.

Blanche Baughan, a New Zealand poet, walked the tract in 1908.  Her article for the London magazine, the Spectator, was originally to have been entitled "A Notable Walk", but the title was later embellished by an editor to be "The Finest Walk in the World".  Even these days the title has stuck and around 100 people per day now ply the track.  50% guided staying in the fancy huts with a glass of chardonnay at the end of the day, 50% DOC freedom walkers.

You can find out more about the Milford Track by visiting the DOC website.