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Hollyford and Milford track

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Hollyford and Milford track

Postby Rick B » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:21 am

We wanted to do the Milford track end of feb, but underestimated exactly how popular it is; it is completely booked out for the next few months. Does anybody know whether it is worth waiting a bit and hope that somebody cancels their booking?

As an alternative then, we were thinking of doing the Hollyford track. Since this is a one way walk you have to be flown out from the endpoint to avoid backtracking. Does anybody have experience with this track? How does it compare to the other tramps in the area?

And perhaps somebody here is interested in doing this track too? If so, the costs for the flight can be reduced as you pay per flight, not per person.. But actually I'm a bit reluctant to get a PLANE to pick me up, it seems a bit over the top (it would be unthinkable in Europe!).
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Postby vancouver islander » Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:19 pm

Having done a few of them, and speaking personally of course, I wouldn't go near any of the "Great Walks" again. Far too many people.

Consider instead the Caples Track from Lake Wakatipu and back on the (easy) Greenstone Track to your starting point. Or the Rees/Dart circuit in the same general area.

The Lonely Planet "Tramping in New Zealand" is a very good source for route descriptions etc.

Walk up spots for the Milford are rare I believe. You could email the DOC and ask what the chances might be. If you do get a chance I would take it providing you can accept the conditions. These being that it's a contrived experience. Strictly regulated and tightly controlled. You almost feel like you're part of an assembly-line like process. However, because of the regulation that everyone walks in the same direction, you don't get the same sense of crowding that you do on, say, the Routebourne. Everyone goes at their own pace and consequently, you see hardly a soul for hours on end. And the views are stunning of course.

Hope this is useful.

What's the problem with a plane out of the Hollyford by the way? Don't you have skilift access to most objectives in the Alps? Personally I'd rather the temporary presence of a plane than the permanent presence of such monstrosities as gondolas etc.
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Postby Rick B » Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:46 am

A spot just opened up yesterday on the Milford, so I jumped it and booked :) It's not really the preferred date we had in mind, but at least it's while we're there. From what I understand, visiting NZ without the Milford track is like visiting Paris without seeing the Eifel tower..

I can understand your attitude to the great walks, but we decided to do a few of them anyway because

a) they aren't called 'Great Walks' for nothing :)

b) my girlfriend isn't that experienced with multiple-day hikes, so we'd rather go for the easier ones, which tend to be the well maintained great walks.

The other great walk we wanted to do was the Routeburn, according to the pictures and descriptions this must be quite fantastic in terms of scenery.

I also did the Kepler in 2005, which was superb. We did it over christmas, so there was almost no-one on the track. Also, since finish and starting point coincide, you don't have tricky logistics as in the Routeburn or Hollyford.
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Postby Rick B » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:35 am

How do the Hollyford and Milford tracks compare? Now that we've booked the Milford (at an unfavourable date even) I'm feeling kind of bad that we're not doing the Hollyford. After reading a bit this also seemed like a really, really nice and adventurous walk...

Right now our plans are:

Milford track (4 days)
Routeburn (3 days)
Abel Tasman (2-3 days, non negotiable by verdict of girlfriend ;))

After typing this list I realize that we're actually doing precisely *the* most busy great walks... We could perhaps swap in the Hollyford track and/or the Caples track (we don't have time for a full loop here). Other suggestions are welcome!
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Postby dmnz » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:45 am

another easy walk to do would be Cascade Saddle but watch out for Sandflies esp if you go in/out the Dart Valley.

an easy way to escape the crowds is to go in winter. would be a great time to enjoy the scenery on some of the great walks, eg milford and routeburn, without the crowds

i hear there's some steep lines that supposedly have not seen a recorded winter ascent around the routeburn...

do watch out for some big avos though
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Postby dadndave » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:44 am

Sandflies. . Bastard things. You spend the week after you get home still scratching.
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Postby Charles » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:24 am

dadndave wrote:Sandflies. . Bastard things. You spend the week after you get home still scratching.


Hoepefuly I´ll be there too - what´s a good "lotion" for the little buggers?
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Postby dmnz » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:29 am

covering up is the best way
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Postby dadndave » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:06 am

After the event? "Soove" is pretty good. Anything with Lignocaine in it.

As dmnz says though, prevention is better than cure. Get some Aerogard or similar insect repellent. There is one in NZ called "Off" I think - comes in a pump pack so no nasty propellants. It's good stuff and no extra weight carrying aerosol cans.

How long ya gunna be in NZ?
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Postby Charles » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:08 am

dadndave wrote:After the event? "Soove" is pretty good. Anything with Lignocaine in it.

As dmnz says though, prevention is better than cure. Get some Aerogard or similar insect repellent. There is one in NZ called "Off" I think - comes in a pump pack so no nasty propellants. It's good stuff and no extra weight carrying aerosol cans.

How long ya gunna be in NZ?


Thanks. We´ll be there 4 weeks :D
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Postby dadndave » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:09 am

Don't even think about not visiting the south island.
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Postby Charles » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:24 am

dadndave wrote:Don't even think about not visiting the south island.

Oky doky!
Looking forward to it immensely. Got a space ship booked. Also seeing big brother again!!!
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Postby dmnz » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:03 am

when i said cover up i meant with long sleeves, pants, liner gloves and sock, buffs, etc
i did not mean with repellent as deet is probably worse than the little buggers.

but yes be careful, esp after you finish for the day and take boots off. i got a few bites on the top of my feet and ankles and this was in winter!
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Postby Charles » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:20 pm

They sound like Skye midges!
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Postby rics » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:45 pm

I went to South Island a couple of years ago with no reservations for anything. I based my self in Te Anau. Everyday I simply went to the Park Visitors Center and asked, "What's available?". Over two weeks I did the Kepler, Caples, Greenstone, and Routeburn. I had a chance for the Milford, but the crowds turned me off.
Make sure you understand that you do NOT need a reservation to do the Tramp. You need the reservation to get a bunk in a hut. But a hut is almost a necessity since it rains a lot. I mean A LOT.
Best thing I did was to take a tent. I did not use a tent on the tramps, but used it in Te Anau. Hotels-Motels are very expensive and tought to get. There's a line of people every day on the phone trying to get reservations. I camped at a Holiday Park (KOA) in Te Anau for $10. That included use of the shower, kitchen, dining area, and TV room. It worked well.
Also, there is never a problem getting to the trailhead. there are shuttle busses every day to every trailhead.
Just buy a plane ticket and to.
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