Moving time  4 hours 54 minutes

Time  7 hours 29 minutes

Coordinates 4307

Uploaded February 11, 2018

Recorded February 2018

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949 ft
-60 ft
0
4.0
8.0
15.97 mi

Viewed 862 times, downloaded 32 times

near Milford Sound, Southland (New Zealand)

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The third stage of the Milford Trail, in continuous descent from the Quintin Hut to Sandfly Point, following the banks of the Arthur River, is the longest of the three (about 21 km. Official, which become more than 25 if you want to take advantage of the side paths to see waterfalls and other points of interest), but the slope, almost always downhill with small occasional climbs, is scarce and the stage is not too demanding (although for people not accustomed to this type of hiking the third day always It is a high requirement if the distance is long, as we could see in some travel companions).
The road runs through the Arthur Valley, with the river as a dynamic element of this stage in sight on most of the route. The Arthur River is as beautiful as the Clinton, which we traveled two days before, although perhaps with less color (the shades of the water of the Clinton are almost incredible), but in return it has numerous waterfalls of enormous appeal. The route from Quintin Hut passes through Boatshed, where Marc (the head guide) already has hot drinks prepared for us, and while slower walkers arrive we take the opportunity to explore the river's surroundings after getting a good dose of repellent, because here the mosquitoes They are the owners of the place and defend it as they know. On the trail we see here and there weckas, dark brown plumage birds that do not fly and are confident and almost friendly with the walker. The path runs through forests with beech trees or the typical subtropical forest, with palm trees and large ferns, passing here and there through impressive waterfalls; the most striking have been MacKay Falls and, above all, Giants Gate Waterfall, shown in the photographs.
In the final part, before arriving at Sandfly Point, the Arthur river enters the Ada lake, with calm waters, and the path departs somewhat more from its coast, although it is still visible sometimes despite the thick vegetation. This part is somewhat less striking, except when the path approaches the river again, and mosquito attacks are again very frequent.
Upon arriving at Sandfly Point we find a new private Hut, where we have different drinks prepared while we wait for late walkers to arrive, as the ship that will take us to the hotel picks us up (today's is not a luxurious refuge, it is an excellent hotel , In all rules). Here ends the Milford Trail, the best trail in the world, and a sign at the entrance of the pier announces it that way. The faces of the walkers and their happy comments seem to manifest the idea of triumph in a personal challenge. In reality, there is nothing triumphant in crossing landscapes like this, the succession of beautiful places pushes you more than any other consideration to continue looking for the next.
In the whole route we have not seen a paper thrown away, an abandoned plastic bag, ... Multitude of ecological toilets available all along the path are in good state of use and - surprising - acceptable cleaning, and nobody seems to forget that That is the place to do things that should not be done elsewhere. The guide's recommendation, almost from the beginning, was that river water could be drunk, and it was probably better than what we could carry bottled or chemically treated. How many lessons, almost continuous, of what it is to use wisely and respect nature!
From Sandfly Point a boat will take us to the Milford Sound (or Piopiotahi of the Maori, the eighth wonder of the world as described by Rudyard Kipling), crossing the Deepwater Basin, at whose edge the Milford Sound airport looks out. Since you start the boat tour you are looking for the most famous view of the Sound: the Miter Peak, but this is done begging; successive peaks (Barren, Lion, Elephant, ..) appear before. In the end, when the ship turns to the right, in the direction of the Miter Peak Lodge, with Bowen Falls already in sight, at the bottom of the Milford Sound, almost closing it in appearance, the Miter Peak is exposed. It does not have, at this time, its snowy summit, and the clouds partially cover it, but it is still a glorious vision, or perhaps the traveler's craving creates mirages that exist only in his imagination. Let the reader judge the photographs, more objective than the story, and decide!
The next day, a cruise through the Milford Sound and the Tasmanian Sea (Anita Bay) allowed us to see dolphins, seals and countless waterfalls, as well as to know, under the constant rain (the probability of having four days in a row without rain is lower at 1%, here it rains about 200 days a year, with rainfall of more than 250 mm in 24 hours at times, and with an average annual rainfall that exceeds 7 meters, and in some points reaches 15 meters), other coastal points from this special area of one of the most beautiful countries in the Universe. At the end of the cruise we board a bus that returns us to Queenstown through Te Anau; The initial section of this high mountain road, through the valley of the Cleddau River, crosses the Homer tunnel, which began to build condemned outlaws, but had to be replaced by paid workers, by the many demands and poor progress of work.
In the mind there is an unforgettable memory of a highly recommended experience.
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6 comments

  • César Argilés Jun 10, 2018

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Recuperados del anterior y duro día, pudimos disfrutar de esta etapa, con el deseo de alcanzar el Mitre Peak.
    Larga ,pero reconfortante por vistas.

  • Photo of JPM58

    JPM58 Sep 22, 2018

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Fantastic trail with great scenery. Done in mid November 2107 with blue sky and dry weather. Because of the extreme bad weather (snow falls) at the beginnning of the month some part of thetrack were closed after the quintin hut. Rangers had opened an emergency track straight down the valley slope to avoid crossing avalanche risk areas. That emergncy track was toughwith steep slope in rocky terrein with bushes. Hard for our knees again. Don't forget your deet and moskito nets to protect your bed from the sand flies!

  • Photo of eoc

    eoc Sep 22, 2018

    Thanks for your comments. We were more fortunate with the weather, and DEET gave us a good relation with the moskitoes (they went for others). As you say, the whole track was fantastic. It is worth every single penny!

  • javeadeverano Oct 23, 2018

    Maravillosos paisajes. Río increiblemente bonito

  • luis.perecruz Mar 21, 2019

    Buen comienzo para el mejor trekking del mundo

  • Photo of manuelruizapatero

    manuelruizapatero May 20, 2019

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Outsanding route... Close to perfection.

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