I’ve specifically stayed away from planning more than a a few days in advance so far but have had to change that for March next year. Specifically, starting March 13th I’ll be walking on the world-famous Milford Track. The reason I have booked so far in advance? That’s the first day of availability. The New Zealand government limits the number of independent hikers to 40 per day on this track to keep it in good, natural condition. The track being a huge draw though means it can be hard to get a spot during the summer months. March is actually fall here, but it will do just fine for me. This was one multi-day hike that I HAD to make sure to do before leaving New Zealand, so I made the booking today. This will fit well – I will already be in the Queenstown area March 2nd dropping off friends for their flight home, and again on April 1st when my parents come for a visit. I’m hoping to get some serious hiking in during the month in-between. There are some absolutely fantastic multi-day hikes in that region.
The big downside to the Milford Track,compared to any other hike here in New Zealand? The price. You can’t camp on the Milford (you can on any other great walk), and hate to stay in huts. The huts are supposed to be great, but the price difference is substantial ($50 vs $15 camping). Add to that you need a boat to take you to the start of the track from Te Anau downs, and then a boat to get you from the end of the track to Milford Sound, and then a bus back to Te Anau…the total cost quickly hits over $300! OUCH. Compared that to most other hikes which require no transport fees or huts (ie the Tongariro Northern Circuit), those costs will be $45-50 for the same amount of days. Oh well, small price to pay for what should be one of the best hikes in the world. It will cost me considerably more whenever I get to do the Inca trail after all…:)
I just hope I get good weather!