Milford Track Day 1: Glade House To Pompolona Lodge.
The first real hiking day unfortunately started with a bit of fog and clouds and I was a bit disappointed at first. A couple of minutes into the walk, it actually made the atmosphere more mystical.
Key Facts, Milford Track Day 1.
- Length: 16 km
- Time: 5-7 hours
- Highlight: Wetlands
After crossing the emerald green Clinton River over the first of about 400 bridges (I unfortunately forgot the exact number Kelly mentioned), we walked up the valley of beech forest, passing Quintin Mackinnon’s first shelter hut built back in 1889.
A bit further was a little side track to the wetland area, which is definitely worth checking out! Wetland made me think of an area near a rivers or lake, however, this one was in the middle of a valley with no water in sight! Shrub brush and moss is all that grows here, due to a iron pan below the soil. But the beech trees are slowly taking over and will eventually convert the area to a dry land.
From here the walk continued pretty flat, before it climbed as it entered the Clinton Valley. Walking through the lush beech forest, you’ll cross a huge landslide from the 80’s which blocked the river and created a Dead Lake.
After approx. 11 kilometres, we reached the Hirere Falls. If you’re lucky and the weather allows it, you can get a sneak preview of Mackinnon Pass in the distance. After re-entering the forest, the surrounding opened up again. Since it was raining a lot in the last couple of days, countless waterfalls embellished the steep rock walls, which was really impressive. From here, it’s was just a short climb to Pompolona Lodge, where we were greeted with a nice warm cup of tea.
Milford Track, Day By Day Itinerary.
- Day 0: Queenstown to Glade House.
- Day 1: Glade House to Pompolona Lodge (you’re here right now).
- Day 2: Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge via Mackinnon Pass.
- Day 3: Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge via Sandfly Point.
- Day 4: Mitre Peak Lodge to Milford Sound.