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Preparing for your Great Walk in Fiordland

The New Zealand Great Walks are spectacular with diverse and ever-changing scenery through Fiordland National Park. Mountain vistas, glacial lakes, and panoramic Fiordland Views for 2-4 days, these backcountry hiking experience's will be ones to remember forever.

Date 14 Dec 2020

The Great Walk season officially starts in October on the Kepler Track with the Milford Track and the Routeburn track following suit shortly after. These three Great walks are all situated here in Fiordland National Park and are best enjoyed during the summer months. We see visitors from near and far flock to Te Anau to embark on some of the world’s finest hiking trails.

With all great adventures, preparation is key. Transport, equipment, food, and clothing are the essentials to your Great Walk experience running as smoothly as possible. Have peace of mind while you enjoy what the great outdoors has to offer and delve into our guide on how to prepare for your great walk here in Fiordland National Park.

Luxmore Hut, Kepler Track - Sophie Piearcey

Book your accommodation

Bookings are 100% compulsory during the Great Walk season. Bookings for the 20/21 season are now open, with the Milford Track selling out in record time. It is a good idea to try and reserve your dates as soon as they are available on the DOC website. A booking is required for each adult, child, and infant intending to stay in the huts and use the facilities.

You must visit a DOC visitor centre before embarking on your hiking experience to check-in, pick up your hut tickets, and record your intentions.

All three Great Walks end here in Fiordland National Park and we encourage you to book at least one night's accommodation in Te Anau after completing your adventure. Reflect on your time hiking, soak up the serenity, and explore Te Anau before departing for your hometown.

Book your track transport

Track transport is required for the Great Walks. With the Routeburn and Milford Track being point to point tracks you will need to secure a boat or bus from either end. There are plenty of track transport options and companies to choose from. You should factor in the transport from either end of your walk into your itinerary.

Car relocation, water taxi transfers, and return coaches are a popular choice and must be booked before departure. Most companies can assist with timings to suit you and your schedule. Some will coordinate all the logistics, including boats and other supplementary transport if you choose.

Pack the right equipment

When embarking on a 2-4 day adventure in the backcountry of New Zealand you need the right equipment. Here is a list of our essential backcountry items. If you need a top-up or if you are looking to hire equipment, we have shops in the town centre who fulfill all these needs. You will find them here.

Don’t leave for the Great Walks without the below;

Good shoes or boots  that are worn in a ready for the trails,
A sleeping bag, lightweight and comfortable, you will need it for each hut,
A good quality 50-60 litre hiking pack with a waterproof cover/liner to keep your goods safe,
Camping cooking utensils, pots, fork, spoon, and a light weight burner.
Torch, lighter and or matches in a waterproof bag,
Map and a compass can come in handy,
Rubbish bags – you must take all your rubbish out with you,
A fully charged camera or phone to capture the memories,
A basic first aid kit with sunscreen, insect repellent, painkillers, plasters, and your toiletries.

Remember to pack wet wipes, they come in handy.

Carry enough food for your multi-day hiking adventure 

There is nowhere to buy food on route. You will need to pack enough food for the entirety of your trip. That means breakfast, lunch, and dinner and snacks will travel with you in your backpack. We suggest looking at the backcountry cuisine freeze-dry meals, they are lightweight and just require hot water. Sandwiches, muesli bars, fruit, nuts, and kiwi favourite scroggin are great snacks to have handy to power you through your great walk. You will be able to fill your water bottle at the huts as they have running water. Electrolyte sachets are great for energy and instant noodles are a good option for the budget-friendly among us.

Be sure to pack enough, plus some extra treats so get you through the adventure. You will need your fuel for the experience.

Kepler water taxi - Fiordland Outdoors Co

Pack the right clothing for Fiordland weather 

Clothing is very important and you will need to pack for all weathers. Fiordland National Park is very temperamental. The weather is ever-changing and some days we experience all four seasons in one. Be sure to pack merino base layers, comfortable walking clothes, fresh socks, waterproof pants, and a waterproof jacket.

The weather can change quickly in the mountains and if one should get caught in one of Fiordland’s famous rainstorms you will want fresh dry clothes to change in to at the hut. Make sure your bag is lined and you have everything you need before departing.

For more information about Great Walks visit the official DOC website. Our Great Walk operators also have information on their websites and blogs detailing all three Fiordland Great Walks.

Mackinnon Pass - William Patino

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