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Milford Track: Quintin Lodge to Sandfly Point

Intermediate

Trail

14.6 mile 23.5 kilometer point to point
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,657' 505 m
Descent: -2,478' -755 m
High: 825' 251 m
Low: 0' 0 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 43% (23°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Tilman Giese

The fourth and final day of the Milford Track leading through beech forest along waterfalls to Milford Sound.

Tilman Giese

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Description

The last part of the Milford Track between Quintin Lodge and Sandfly Point is the longest but does not have much elevation change. From Quintin Lodge, the track follows Roaring Burn on the right and descends steadily for the first 1.5 miles. Shortly before mile marker 21 (at 0.6 miles), take a minute and get a last look at Sutherland Falls. Mount Pillans (4564 feet) is also to your left. Continue down a stretch of moderate descent that is called "Gentle Annie". At 2.1 miles (between mile markers 22 and 23) Dumpling Hut is to the right. The next 3 miles offer few views and can easily be flooded during and after rain.

At mile marker 26 (i.e. after 6 miles), you reach the Boatshed Shelter. In the early days of the Milford walks, this was where the men went on a fishing trip on the Arthur River. After some rest, continue on and cross the impressive bridge across the Arthur River. Half a mile further, you get to the first highlight of the day: Mackay Falls. A couple wooden stairs lead up to an observation platform that is very much worth it. To your right is Bell Rock, a gigantic rock with a bell-shaped cavern inside.

Back on the track, the area opens up a bit under the shadow of Steep Hill (5351 feet) before it re-enters the rainforest. After mile marker 28, you cross two bridges over Poseidon Creek, which can be a roaring torrent after rain. Just half a mile further, you reach Telegraph Point where the track was cut into the rock in 1898 using a large amount of dynamite. This is also a great spot to get a few glimpses of the Arthur Valley and Lake Ada.

After 11 miles, you reach the Giants Gate Shelter—a good place for lunch. Just a few yards further is Giants Gate, a very impressive waterfall that you see from a bridge. The rocks in front of the falls are a great alternative lunch spot—weather permitting. The track skirts Lake Ada and is pretty flat for the rest of the way. The track gets wider as you get closer to Sandfly Point. It was built by convicts in 1890.

Sandfly Point has its name for a very good reason. There are typically myriads of sandflies that leave very itchy bite marks for a few days. Insect repellent is highly recommended. Relax at the Sandfly Point Shelter and enjoy the view of Barren Peak across the Milford Sound before you hop on a boat that will bring you to the Milford Sound harbor. This is the end of the Milford Track.

Flora & Fauna

If you are lucky, you'll come across a Blue Duck, an endangered torrent-dwelling duck found in the Arthur River. They are most easily recognized by the fleshy tip on their beaks that allows them to scrape invertebrates off the rocks to eat.

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Dec 21, 2017
Tilman Giese

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#11571

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Trail Rankings

#153

in New Zealand

#11,571

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Intermediate

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Photos

Mackay Falls
Jan 15, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
Giants Gate
Jan 15, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
Bridge across Roaring Burn to reach Quintin Lodge. The Twin Sisters are up ahead.
Jan 15, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
Mackay Creek
Jan 15, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
Poseidon Creek
Jan 15, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
Waterfalls start to flow almost everywhere after every rain
Jan 15, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ

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