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Hikes from the Milford Road

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Old-timers grumble about tourists wasting their time, effort and money on prize tramps like the Milford and the Routeburn when so many excellent, easily accessible walks are on the Milford Road.

Lake Gunn Nature Walk (3km loop; 45min; negligible ascent). Wheelchair-accessible nature walk with interpretive panels. Starts 75km north of Te Anau.

The Divide to Key Summit (5km return; 2–3hr; 400m ascent). Panoramic views (when it’s not raining) over three valley systems are the reward for this tramp along the western portion of the Routeburn Track. Starts 84km north of Te Anau.

Lake Marian (5km return; 2–3hr; 400m ascent). Picturesque ascent to a scenic alpine lake, passing pretty cataracts (30–40min return), where boardwalks are cantilevered from the rock. Starts 1km along Lower Hollyford Rd, 88km north of Te Anau.

Homer Hut to Gertrude Saddle (10km return; 3–5hr; 600m ascent). This hike starts relatively gently up the dramatic Gertrude Valley, ringed by sheer rock walls. The track then becomes a steep route marked by snow poles and cairns up the final ascent to the saddle where there’s a wonderful view of Milford Sound and the 2756m Mount Tutoko, Fiordland’s highest peak. Starts 98km north of Te Anau, just by the Homer Hut.

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