Camping the Milford, It's possible..
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I asked DOC and It's possible to camp in the Milford Track as long as it's 500m of the track, and there are 2 places along the track they rocommend to do that..
It's free, and don't need to book it, just the transport..
This is a bit difficult and involves creek crossings, and other things that they told me.
I would like to do that but not alone for safety reasons
The date dosen't really matter, as long as it's between now and end of March
Is anyone interested?
You are 100% correct here. Under the National Parks Act you have every right to be on the Milford Track if you wish. Everyone has free right to be there. The only restriction is the bi-law that prohibits you from camping within 500m of the track. Might be tricky on the Milford but it is interesting that DOC have recommended a couple of places. Good on them.
You can also avoid the boat trip and access the Glade House end of the track by crossing Dore Pass from the Eglington Rd. This is not a particulaly difficult crossing for the average tramper but there are some route finding issues so pays to swot that one up. I suggest Moirs Guide Book.
At the Milford end you really do need a boat. I once negotiated with a local fisherman to take us in there for the price of a bottle of rum. The other trick done by the Otago Unuversity Tramping Club was to carry cheap inflatable children's dinghys across the track and use those to paddle from Sandfly point to Milford.
The ideal time to do it is just after the main season has closed and then you will have the whole track to yourself, then you can use your backcountry hut pass at the huts anyway.
Out of interest, where are the 2 places that they suggest to camp?
Looking at the map I suspect up the east Branch of the Clinton and then again up Staircase Creek from the Sutherland Falls.
This would mean a fairly big day between the two. It might be possible to also find a place up stream from Lake Mintaro but, not remembering what it is like up there, I am not sure if it is suitable country for camping.
The 1st one is really east of clinton hut
I can't remember the 2nd one
What's is your opinion about that? Too dangerous?
It's a long time since I have been there but east of Clinton Hut looks like up the Neale Burn. It would be worth going up there to look for a camp site keeping in mind that you may not be able to cross the river. You also need to keep in mind that if it rains during the night while you are camped there, you may be stuck there until you can get back across the river.
Many years ago I did go up Staircase Creek and we camped at its head planning an attempt to cross into the Light River on the other side. However we got a heavy dump of snow and had to retreat. I recall the vegitation in the lower part of the valley being quite thick but you could probably find somewhere to camp.
Whatever you do, it'd be best to play it by the rules on the Milford. They have relied on the remoteness of the place to keep order on the track for many years so you are probably going to be as popular as the proverbial pork chop, especially if you end up on the doorstep of a hut in torrential rain.
That is another reason why I would suggest doing it just after they finish the season.
Just had this email from someone who knows the area well.....
I would not have thought the Neale Burn very ideal for camping- I can't
recall anywhere handy where you could camp with any comfort that would
be more than 500m from the track. From personal experience, I can advise
that you can cross the Neale Burn when the Clinton looks like a small
sea if you find trees that have fallen over both branches of the Neale
Burn where it forms the delta. A 2hr slog down the true-left of the
Clinton, often in view of a perfectly good but inaccessible Milford
Track in the rain, to Glade House is dispiriting. :-(
There are plenty of good campsites in the North Branch of the Clinton.
Finding somewhere appealing to camp in the Arthur valley more than 500m
from the track is not obvious to me.
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