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Rich’s Travel Diary

Monday, 26 Dec 2005

Location: The Milford Track, New Zealand

MapWe arrived in Te Anau on the 21st to get ourselves prepared for the Milford Track walk (4 days, 3 nights carrying all your food, clothes, sleeping bag etc). The next morning we took a bus and ferry across to the start of the track - and then we were off.
The first day was quite easy as we only had to walk for a couple of hours before we reached our hut - but here we got eaten alive by the sand flies. The second day was long but relatively flat for the most of it - just a steep section through forest at the end of day to leave us ready for bed. It was the third day that was the real highlight - a long steep walk over MacKinnon pass for excellent views over Fiordland, topped off with the unusually clear day: normally Fiordland gets many metres of rain each year and when its not raining its cloudy. (Quinten Mackinnon was the Scottish explorer who discoved the pass through the mountains to Milford Sound in 1888). We then stopped off at Sutherland Falls (named after another Scot), New Zealands highest waterfall, where we donned wet weather gear before battling our way around the back of the waterfall. It was like entering the worst storm imaginable - you couldn't see anything apart from the spray, the noise was deafening and we got absolutely soaked, but it was a great experience. That evening we cracked open the wine (which we had carried for the previous 3 days) to celebrate Christmas Eve.
The fourth day the weather was considerably more rainy, which was actually a good thing, as hundreds of waterfalls appeared from nowhere. We made it to the end with an hour to spare, before the ferry came to pick us up and take us to Milford Sound. We then jumped on a ship for a cruise around the Sound, before heading to a cafe for a 3 course christmas meal - very welcome after 4 days of eating freeze dried meals.