When is the best time to hike the Milford Track?

November to April is the best time to hike the Milford Track for mild conditions, but pack for any season as the Milford Hike can feature rainfall at any time of year

The best time to hike the Milford Track is during the Great Walk season, which runs from October to April. This time of year bring mostly mild or warm days in Queenstown and Fiordland National Park, but it is worth noting the mountains and valleys of the Milford Track can see rainfall at any time of year so it is always best to be prepared for cold and wet conditions. From May to September, it can be cold and wet, with ice and snow on the Milford Track, so these are definitely months to avoid hiking the Milford for most.

When considering the best month to do the Milford Track, there are several competing factors to consider. If you are doing the Milford Hike end-to-end, we'd typically recommend December to March as the best time, but there is a case for travelling in the shoulder months of October, November and April when you'll see less of a crowd. Early December and February is preferred to the festive period from mid December to end of January, when pre and post accommodation in Queenstown will be at a premium. That being said, December and January are the perfect time for viewing alpine wildflowers which can attract the pretty Kea bird (New Zealand's alpine parrot). Another consideration is sometimes the late summer and early Autumn months can bring more rainfall due to consistently warm temperatures in February and March pushing warm air over the alps. Rain at Mackinnon Pass is common anytime though, so we recommend planning for rain regardless.

If you decide to plan a Milford walk over December or January, keep in mind the Christmas and New Year holidays often book out in Queenstown early and minimum stay periods apply. We recommend booking your Queenstown accommodation as soon as you book your Milford Guided Walk to avoid disappointment.

If you are planning a day hike on the Milford Track, please be aware that the Giants Gate end of the Milford Track is only accessible during the official Great Walk season, as the boat transfer service stops running outside these months. There is a private guided walk we offer outside the season at the other end of the Milford which we access by boat across Lake Te Anau. Please enquire for details.

Learn more:

Related FAQs