Oceania (Australia, New Zealand & the South Pacific) - Milford Track
Jul 21, 12, 3:41 am
Next year's reservations for the Milford Track are now open.
I'm planning on going there but would like to avoid the crowds and summer heat during the peak season (late Oct until late April). The bookings are also cheaper during the off-peak season. Perhaps, the fall may be ideal either at the end of the peak season or beginning of the off-peak season. However, I don't want to go too far into the off-peak season either because the weather may make it too risky and they may close the track because of the severe weather.
I think the track will next be open from 10/23/12 until 05/02/12.
Those who have gone there from April until May, when exactly would you suggest to go?
How's the track like from April until May and how different is it to visit during the beginning of the off-peak season instead rather than the peak season?
I'm leaning towards the mid or end of April. Any thoughts?
Jul 21, 12, 7:19 am
Can't comment on the Milford track; however, I prefer Sept or Apr when headed to NZ for hiking, as I prefer cooler, less crowded, and less expensive. I prefer Apr over Sept as alpine areas can still be snowed in Aug / Sept after a severe winter.
I'm not a thru hiker but rather a long day hiker. I've done lots of hiking in Fiordland in Apr and Sept and would describe the trail traffic as very thin, including more popular tracks like the Kepler Track. The temps in the morning were in some instances below freezing / frosty in mid Apr, but other times were above freezing. Of course hiking at higher elevations can go from a cold day to desperate conditions pretty quick ... and more likely in winter.
Looking at the Milford winter hiking brochure below I did notice warnings that many bridges are removed in winter so you need to be prepared to cross large, swift, icy rivers ... and that the pass is not marked, so you need to have alpine skills/experience.
I'm booked for 10 south island days in early Nov this year due to award availability; however, I'm looking to reschedule for Sept/Oct.
Enjoy your trip ... NZ is a great place to go for a hike !
Fiordland Tracks (http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/fiordland/a-z-of-fiordland-tracks-and-walks/)
Milford Track Info (http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/fiordland/northern-fiordland/milford-track/)
Milford Brochure (http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/southland/milford-track-brochure.pdf)
Milford Winter Hiking Brochure (http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/southland/milford-track-winter-tramping.pdf)
Jul 21, 12, 10:32 pm
The fall is supposed to be from mid-March until mid-May. When does it usually start snowing in Fiordland? If I go in the first week of May, will there be any snow and any bridges closed? The booking prices at the huts are $15 compared to $54 during peak season but I'm not sure if it's worth it.
Also, I want to see the effect of the rain coming down on the fiords like hundreds of small waterfalls. Will there be any rain in April or beginning of May?
Jul 23, 12, 11:26 pm
I went with the guided tour in late April. It was one of the last trips, so the company definitely thinks the weather may not be as settled in May.
According to my guides April is drier than other months which is both good and bad. It only rained one of the days of the hike and I got to see the waterfalls on the mountains. But sunny you get a great view from the top of McKinnon pass. When you get to the end at Milford sound definitely stay there overnight and do a cruise, this was part of the guided tour. It was sunny which meant a good view of mitre peak bill I wish it had rained heard the waterfalls are gorgeous.
So if it were me late April would still be a good time to go, you would probably be fine in may but things might be less predictable.