Milford Track - Day 4
14 January 2018
The fourth day of the Milford Track was a long one, with a ferry to catch at 4pm and an 18 kilometre walk to get there - so we couldn’t be late!
So I was up early and the plan was to be off well before 7am, I'm not sure what happened but I mucked around a bit somehow ended up heading off just after 7am.
The distance maybe long, but the track is flat and simple following the Arthur River down to Sandfly Point in the Milford Sound itself. Dumpling Hut is at about 100 meters, so there is no up or down like most NZ tramping.
Compared to the first few days of this walk there was not a huge amount of excitement – maybe I’m getting used to the amazing the views around us with all the cliffs and mountains towering over 1000 feet above us.
The day seemed to stretch on and on as we were not doing our usual pausing to see stuff and to rest – it was just walking and more walking without many stops.
Bell Rock was one of these stops. Bell Rock is an an impressive boulder made cave – make a nice little home which I of course had to climb under.
We also came across the oldest part of the track which is still in operation, cut by hand over 100 years ago which I enjoyed. This shows how long people have been walking and enjoying the majesty of the the Milford Track. It's not easy to get to now-days - would have been really hard 100 years ago.
We made it to Sandfly Point for the ferry with about 15 minutes to spare, so we walked around and took some photos before jumping on a boat across the harbour to Milford Sound.
It was a great feeling to realise that I have walked the Milford Track, the most famous of NZ's tramps. I put a lot of work organising this walk - it was a lot more hard work than I thought it was going to be - but was well worth it.
It was not just the amazing high cliffs and climbing up through the Mackinnon Pass it was the surprising birdlife that really surprised me. I saw a total of 15 NZ bird's on the Milford Track including the rare Blue Duck - whio, NZ's smallest bird the riflemen at 6 - 8 grams, rock wren, kea and kaka. The trapping for the last 15 odd years has really payed off.
Milford Sound has this this utterly amazing scenery with huge cliffs, waterfalls and a very small piece of flat land which is used as a huge bus and ferry terminal, car-parks, one lone shop and small airfield and a single hotel lodge and that is it.
It turns out that in Milford Sound there is actually very little to see or do on land - it's all on the sea.
By pure luck we had caught the single ferry that arrived just before the regular Milford Lodge shuttle - which runs from the ferry to the lodge where we are staying - the only accommodation in Milford Sound.
So we gratefully and with some stiffness and pain walked from the little ferry boat into this large ferry terminal, found our shuttle and headed down the road to the Milford Lodge.
It always seem to me that tramping along with a heavy pack is fine, but as soon as you stop all the small little walks seem to be painful and sore.
I have arranged for 2 nights at the Milford Lodge and a night on the water before we start the Routeburn Track in 4 days time; this way I get to do 2 Great Walks while I’m in the area.
The evening was spent in this amazing independent riverside chalet – so very luxurious after the last few days and the first port of call was a hot relaxing bath.
More photos of the final walk below: