Hiking the Milford Track in October
The Milford Track is one of New Zealand's most famous hiking trails and for good reason. One of New Zealand's ten Great Walks, the track winds through some of the most stunning scenery in the world, including towering mountains, lush rainforests, and crystal-clear lakes. The Track was established in 1888 as an overland route between Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound and was used by local Maori as part of their Greenstone trading routes.
Sitting just outside of peak hiking season October is a great time to hike the Milford Track. Crowd levels are generally lower than peak summer and the weather is relatively mild as we move out of winter and into spring. It’s one of our favourite times to explore New Zealand.
Typical crowd levels
October is one of the least crowded months on the Milford Track. The track is open from late October to April, and the busiest months are December to February. If you want to avoid the crowds, October is a great time to go.
On the Milford Track, all hikers must book their accommodation in advance and you’ll need to arrange transport too. Accommodation is available in huts along the track, and transport is provided by shuttle buses. For Hut reservations bookings can be made through the Department of Conservation (DOC) but you’ll need to be organised as spots sell out in record time every year – especially for the Milford Track!
Here's a breakdown of hut prices on the Milford Track in October:
The cost of hiking the Milford Track will vary depending on your accommodation and transport choices. A basic package, including accommodation in huts and transport to and from the track, will cost around $500 per person but could easily be much more depending on your taste in travel style and what else you want to do while you’re there.
With so much to see and do in Fiordland National Park we highly recommend spending a few days in the area on either side of your trip. Whether you want to hike another Great Walk (either on the Kepler or Routeburn Track), explore the best day hikes or simply explore all the incredible sights like Milford Sound there is something for everyone.
Here's our bare-bones assessment of extra costs when exploring the Milford Track in October:
Weather on the Milford Track in October
The weather on the Milford Track in October is generally mild, with average temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C. However, Fiordland is one of the wettest places in New Zealand with an average yearly rainfall of 7m, so there's always a chance of a little rain.
With Fiordlands' unpredictable weather conditions regardless of the time of year, it is important to be prepared for all conditions when hiking the Milford Track. Some essentials to pack include rain gear, sunscreen, and a good hat but for a more detailed break down check out our comprehensive packing guide for hiking in New Zealand.
Our New Zealand Trails tips for the Milford Track
- Start your hike early in the morning to avoid the crowds and make the most of your day.
- This also means you can take your time and enjoy the scenery.
- Be prepared for all types of weather. Even on the warmest summer days conditions can change quickly.
- Bring a camera to capture the stunning views. These are going to be memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Where to stay when hiking the Milford Track
The closest town to the Milford Track is Te Anau. Roughly two and a half hours drive from Queenstown, Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland National Park and an adventure hub. Though it’s a relatively small town there are a number of hotels, motels, and backpackers as well as great restaurants and shops. It’s the perfect place to base yourself for your Fiordland adventure.
Other Tracks to explore while in the area
There are a number of other tracks and walks in the area, including the Kepler, Routeburn and the Hollyford Tracks but by no means are long multi-day tramps the only option. With fantastic day hiking options on both the Routeburn and Kepler Tracks as well as an abundance of others such as Gertrude Saddle, there is plenty to explore on either side of your Milford Track adventure.
Other things to do while in the area
In addition to hiking, there are a number of other things to do in the area, including kayaking, fishing, wildlife watching and of course a visit to the iconic Milford Sound. Whether you choose to experience it by land, sea or sky it’s sure to leave you speechless.
Common Questions and Answers when Hiking the Milford Track
Q: What are the best places to stay when hiking the Milford Track?
A: There are a number of hotels, motels, and backpackers in Te Anau.
Q: What are the best things to do in the area besides hiking?
A: Besides hiking, there are a number of other things to do in the area, including kayaking, fishing, wildlife watching and sightseeing.
Q: What is the best time of year to hike the Milford Track?
A: The best time of year to hike the Milford Track is from late October to the end of April when weather conditions are the most stable and predictable.
Q: How long does it take to hike the Milford Track?
A: The Milford Track is a 4-day hike.
Q: How much does it cost to hike the Milford Track?
A: The cost of hiking the Milford Track will vary depending on your accommodation and transport choices but a basic package, including accommodation in huts and transport to and from the track, will cost around $500 (NZD) per person.
Q: What should I pack for the Milford Track?
A: You should pack rain gear, warm layers, sunscreen, a hat, a camera, and plenty of food, snacks and water. For a more detailed list check out our comprehensive packing list.
Q: How do I book a hike on the Milford Track?
A: If you want to experience the track in its entirety all hikers must book their accommodation and transport in advance. Hut bookings can be made through the Department of Conservation (DOC) and transport through various local suppliers.
Q. What’s the best way to experience the Milford Track?
A: On a New Zealand adventure tour with us of course! We’ve spent the last 25 years taking our guests around the best New Zealand has to offer. With over 3700 stoked guests we make it easy, fun and safe for you to walk, paddle, cycle and hike in our astonishing outdoors and tick off your New Zealand bucket list.
So what do you think? Are you ready to start your Milford Track adventure? With so much rich history, not to mention the incredible scenery, the Milford Track really is one of the best hikes in the world.
Want to find out more about our New Zealand adventure tours? Grab a copy of our free New Zealand hiking brochure or get in touch with us directly – we’d love to share our expert knowledge and help you plan the trip of a lifetime.