HIKING THE MILFORD TRACK IN NEW ZEALAND - WHAT TO PACK FOR A FOUR DAY HIKE
The Milford Track is one of New Zealand's most famous and stunning hikes. You need to book well in advance, and you stay in little cabins each night. Its a three night and four day hike. I went in November and it’s a great thing to do with parents, friends or your partner. The hiking is substantial but manageable, and you really did have a range of nationalities and age ranges on the hike. None of whom seemed to be as mad as me and swan in the rivers!
New Zealand has so much to offer and being so far away from the rest of the world it’s amazing to experience a slice of the many things this beautiful country has to offer.
We met friends in Christchurch who had been living there as doctors for a few years and this was one of their final trips before heading back to the UK. We drove down in their trusty old banger stopping past some of the most amazing countryside, mountain ranges and lakes. See below for some of the images we captured.
Having been hardened hikers and done many excursions around NZ they really knew what they were doing when it came to packing for a four day cabin and hiking trip.
We Sydneysiders on the other hand, did not. I think I turned up with out hardly anything I needed including a proper backpack. I was completely useless. This could have been the most disastrous, miserable trip had it not been for our friends. So here’s my top tips forhow to make your Milsons Point hike a success.
- Pack waterproof clothes including trousers. They do tell you this on the brochure online. It still didn’t mean I bought any! Luckily when you get to the town near the start of the track there are shops and thankfully I had some sense and bought trousers and a beanie hat.
- Pack a comfy good quality rucksack. When you have a bag on your back for 4 days it can really start to hurt. Actually getting something good quality and a good size not massive and not too small is a balancing act as you do also need to bring food. This is worth getting right as it really can make or break your trip.
- Walking boots or trainers? Good question. Classic mistake people make is buying new walking shoes and then being in agony the whole trip. I favour trainers as I find them easier to walk in. When you are walking down a snow capped mountain where people slip and break legs, I did question if this was the best footwear for this occasion. I will leave it up to you.
- Layers. This is really important. I favour a gillet style puffer jacket underneath a larger waterproof jacket and then several jumpers. You are likely to get soaked through to the bone, one, two or all days.
- Warm spare clothing. When you get to the cabin everyone huddles around fires for warmth and generally takes an hour or so to take off all your wet clothes and warm up. Make sure you have enough thick socks and warm clothes for when you arrive in the evening. I don’t think I brought enough warm clothes that were dry and it means the next day putting on wet clothes to start walking in does suck a little.
- Bring your swimwear. This might sound crazy, there are some amazing swimming pools where even though they are freezing are really refreshing and makes for a memorable experience. Hardened by many early morning Bondi Icebergs swims I was happy to take the plunge.
- Don’t take food in a bag. Do you know what I mean? Those disgusting pots and food that you boil in a bag when you get to the cabins. I felt so sorry for all these old French men having to eat such horrible food. Our weathered campers made sure we were well fed with pasta, chorizo, cheese, energy bars, biscuits, baked beans and various tinned goods to name a few. Planning your meals ahead is well worth it and makes for a fun evening cooking together in the evening.
- Pack your kit so you can eat and drink. Each person needs a mug, some plates, cutlery, washing up liquid, camping kettles, pots and pans are really helpful in these little cabins. They provide the fire and you need about everything else. You can’t really bum off other people so it is worth being prepared so you don’t starve or have to wait for others to finish cooking.
- Wine. They laughed at my when I bought two bags of wine in the shop and took it out of the boxes and in my rucksack. They did not when we got to our cabins each evening. This was inspired and kept us warm and merry during the evenings before passing outexhausted and satisfied ready for an early start the next day. Do try and bring a little something if you can.
- Chocolate. No dinner is complete comping with out some chocolate and dessert. There is something about camping and hiking that givesyou a sense you can indulge in sweet foods, like you really deserve it. Well you do, good for you for getting out there. Always buy a few more bars than you think as good to share around a larger group to make some friends and look after the wider group. No-one doesn’t enjoy a bit of chocolate.
- Ferg Berger. After the hike and you have gone back to Queenstown make sure you head to Ferg Burger for one of their famous and phenomenal burgers. I must say they were huge, delicious and well deserved after a four day hike.
- Other travel essentials. See my other tip travel tips for other essentials such as torch, mossy spray, flip-flops and a bar of soap for the standard things you need to bring for any trip.
So blue New Zealand lakes.
It felt like walking through an Instagram movie everything was so fresh and bright.
Swiming in the cold New Zealand rivers!
Getting closer to the peak.
Bathroom and cabin on the top of the world.
Hannah with her enormous backpack.
Playing around on top of the snow capped mountain at Milsons Point, New Zealand.