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Milford Track - Fiordland (reviews, reports)

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Reviews & trip reports

Day one.

This was a boat trip from Te Anau Downs to Glade wharf where the tramp begins. It is only a 1.6 km walk to Glade House, the overnight stop for the guided trampers. You are there in plenty of time to take a walk and check out the birds on the lake and in the bush around the lodge. Nothing too exciting, Tuis, bellbirds,tomtits, fantails, and on the lake, paradise shelducks, shags, ducks which I was not able to tell whether they were mallard or grey duck. Also noted was a white heron, only the one. For me, the haunting singing of the bellbirds is the most striking feature as they are present in numbers.

Day Two.

All day you will be accompanied by fantails, tomtits, and the cheeky South Island robin. Tuis, bellbirds are still there in numbers as are amazing clusters of little riflemen and a group of grey warblers. The Keas made an appearance at the Hirere Falls where we made the lunch stop. From this point on they were sighted regularly. The most exciting "find" of the day was a close sighting of yellow crowned kakariki. Two were clearly visible but I suspect more were back in the bush further. At the end of the day not far from Pompolona Lodge a weka was strolling on the track and eventually moved over to let us pass. That night Kiwi were heard and seen around the lodge. Brown creeper and yellowhead are also apparently to be seen on the walk but we missed seeing them.

Day Three.

Until you leave the rain forest and start the ascent to the McKinnon Pass, the birds are much as observed on day two. More wekas are seen and some wood pigeons. Once into the open alpine areas you are in the domain of the Kea. They are an absolute wonder in the wild, so fearless and bulging with attitude. Nothing is safe, they are so inquisitive.

Day Four.

The day starts with a steep descent from Kea country into the bush again. This time you tramp alongside turbulent mountain streams and water falls and lakes. All kinds of ducks are to be seen including a sighting of the rare endemic blue duck.

Credit: Kath Coopey, 2003

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(page last updated  1 May 2007)