Milford Trek, New Zealand
Much to the chagrin of the locals, people lump Australia and New Zealand together. However, those who have hiked the Milford Trek will tell you there is no comparison between the geographically close countries of the South Pacific. Frankly, there may be no comparison to any other place in the world. Where else can you walk through a lush, green forest denser than you can ever imagine and gaze at multitudes of waterfalls covering sheer granite cliffs peeking above the canopy. Strange birds, great facilities and humorous hut masters round out your experience trekking through one of the world’s most amazing old growth forests.
Once used as a trail to collect pounamu (greenstone/jade) by the indigenous Polynesian tribe Maori, it’s been a trekking destination since the late 1800’s when Donald Sutherland and Quintin Mackinnon cut trails to allow tourists access to a remote wonderland. Back then it was a treacherous journey, but now Milford Trek is the easiest of the ten Great Treks, with wide level trails and an infrastructure second to none. Supervised by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, they meticulously oversee every aspect of your experience. However, be aware, rain is measured in meters per month and when it rains it pours. Trails flood as deep as your waist and you must be prepared. If conditions get too bad, fear not, the DOC will helicopter you from peril at no additional cost.
Day to Day Account - Jeff Salvage - Milford Trek, New Zealand
My last of the ten Great Treks was supposed to be the easiest one. Categorized as an easy four-day walk, the hardest part of the trek should have been getting to the trailhead. Coming from America, tickets were not cheap and the four flights my wife Jennifer and I took were long and draining. Still, after a quick recharge in the adrenaline-junkie city of Queenstown, we were ready to complete my seven year journey to walk the world’s best treks. Recognizing there is some debate over the best trek in New Zealand, my plan was to knock off Milford and then come back to complete the Routeburn and Kepler treks in succession and decide for myself. The story continues...