Short walks from the Milford Road
The Milford Road is the gateway to Fiordland National Park and as such as also a great place to base yourself to enjoy the many walks and hikes available in the area. One of the most famous walks starting here is the Milford Track and you can experience a day walk introduction with Ultimate Hikes on their Milford Track Encounter day walk. If you choose to explore yourself there are many more options too. A short drive along the Milford Road will put you within reach of many walking tracks varying from 10 minutes to 6 hours. See a selection of walks that you can find along the Milford Road below.
Check condition daily for longer walks before venturing out. this information is courtesy of the Department of Conservation and you can find detailed information on their website or at their visitor centre in Te Anau.
Suitable for all ages, Lake Mistletoe is reached by a short forest walk. The entrance is signposted opposite the Te Anau Downs hotel complex.
Distance: 1.3 km return. Completion Time: 45 minutes return.
A good place to stretch your legs during the drive to Milford Sound. Small lakes provide outstanding reflective views of the Earl Mountains. Water fowl and wetland plants can be seen against a backdrop of beech forest.
Distance: 400m return. Completion Time: 10 minutes return.
The Lake Gunn Nature Walk is an easy 45 minute loop walk suited to all ages and accessible to wheelchairs.
The loop track passes through red beech forest and gives glimpses of the birdlife typical of the Eglinton Valley. Side trips can be made to several lake beaches and sheltered fishing spots.
Distance: 1.4km return. Completion Time: 45 minutes return.
From the Divide car park follow the Routeburn Track for about an hour to the signposted turnoff to Key Summit. From here it is a 20 minute climb to Key Summit with panoramic views over the Humbolt and Darran mountain ranges. A self guided alpine nature walk takes you through a variety of native vegetation.
Distance: 6.8km return. Completion Time: 3 hours return.
River crossing, navigation and alpine skills are required for this route.
From the car park located near the eastern portal of the Homer Tunnel the marked route meanders its way up the valley from alpine vegetation. During and after rain there are some creek crossings, so expect to get wet feet.
There are no markers above bush line so navigation skills are essential. Do not follow the rock cairns made by previous walkers as they do not indicate the correct route. From the head of the valley the route heads up to the saddle. Cross the base of the waterfall and sidle across the slopes towards Black Lake. From here parts of the route are very steep and is not suitable for those with limited hiking experience, or a dislike for heights. The track route goes up steep rock slabs and is treacherous when wet, frosty or icy - there are steel cables assist you through this section. From the saddle there are breathtaking views of the valley and part of Milford Sound/Piopiotahi.
Distance: 7km return. Completion Time: 4-6 hours return.
East Homer Nature Walk
Please note this walk cannot be accessed if avalanche danger closes the car park.
Located on the Eastern side of the Homer Tunnel this short nature walk gives an opportunity to see the alpine landscape close-up and see the plants and animals that survive in this harsh environment.
Distance: 2km return. Completion Time: 20 minutes return.
This popular walk is on the western side of the Homer Tunnel. Two foot bridges over the Cleddau River offer spectacular views of a series of waterfalls. Thousands of years of swirling water have sculpted round shapes and basins in the rock.
Distance: 400m return. Completion Time: 20 minutes return.
This route is accessed from the Tutuko bridge on the Western side of the Homer Tunnel. The track is lightly marked as it heads up the valley. After approximately 2 1/2 hours return to the car park via the same route. If you have good navigation and river crossing skills you can continue further up the riverbed.
Distance: 4km return. Completion Time: 5 hour return.
Piopiotahi/Milford Foreshore Walk
At the entry to the main visitor car park at Milford Sound you will find the start of this short loop walk. Walk through beech forest to viewing points with access to the beach. These viewing points have some of the best views of Mitre Peak as well as great views up the Arthur Valley. There are several panels along the way to help you interpret your surroundings.
Also starting in Te Anau is the Kepler Track, another one of the Great Walks. This track is very accessible and you can easily enjoy a day walk along the start of the route and around the southern end of Lake Te Anau. Call into the Department of Conservation office at the Southern end of Lakefront Drive.
Distance: 400m return. Completion Time: 30 minutes return.