18 Aug 2020

Demand high for Milford Track bookings as trampers snap up places in minutes

5:45 pm on 18 August 2020

The Milford Track is set to sell out on its first day of bookings with more than 1000 made in about 10 minutes after sales opened.

Milford Track, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Photo: Unsplash / Mac Gaither

The country's most iconic Great Walk was severely damaged by flooding and landslips in February.

But earlier this month, the Department of Conservation (DOC) confirmed it would reopen this summer alongside the Routeburn Track, after more than $13 million from the Budget was allocated to repair them.

Bookings for the Milford Track opened at 9.30am today.

DOC operations director Aaron Fleming said demand was high with 2000 customers logged in ready to book when the site went live.

"More than 500 bookings were made in the first five minutes and over 1000 bookings just after 10 minute mark. By 10.30(am), about 97 percent of the dates were full," he said.

"Every year we see the peak periods - such as the Christmas and New Year break - book out within minutes and this year has been no exception."

The booking period covers from 30 November, 2020 to 30 April, 2021.

The season was a month shorter this year to enable DOC to complete repair work from the February storms, he said.

Bookings for the partial Milford experience - Southern Milford track to Mackinnon Pass - will be open for November to allow walkers to experience part of the track while critical repairs are finalised on the northern section.

"Walkers who miss out - we know it's disappointing. These tracks are incredibly popular and every year they book up fast. DOC limits numbers on these walks, as per the limits set out in the Park Plans, to protect the surrounding environments and maintain a quality experience for visitors," Fleming said.

"However don't be disheartened - there are plenty of other fantastic walking experiences to be had across New Zealand either as part of the Great Walk network, or any of the other thousands of experiences on offer.

"Occasionally spots do open up on the Milford as groups cancel bookings or change plans, so do keep an eye on the bookings page."

Bookings for the Routeburn Track will open tomorrow.

"We're anticipating similar levels of demand so be sure to log in ahead of time and be flexible with your dates."

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