My husband recently took a special Daddy/Daughter trip with our 13-year-old. They spent four days hiking Milford Track, one of the nine Great Walks of New Zealand. The trail begins at the head of Lake Te Anau and ends at Sandfly Point in Milford Sound. For the duration of the four day hike, they had to carry all their own clothes, sleeping bags, food, water, and supplies in their backpacks, and my daughter did it while still wearing a cast from her snowboarding adventures in Tomamu, Japan. The overnight hiking huts must be reserved well in advance, so they had been planning and preparing this trip for close to a year.
They were extremely impressed with how well the New Zealand Department of Conservation maintains the trails and keeps everything pristine and preserved. It was truly nature at its best with stunning views and very little human impact on the environment. In addition to the 34 mile long Milford Track climbing up to 3,740 feet in elevation, they made an extra side trip hiking up to Sutherland Falls to see the dramatic 1,900 foot long waterfall. Traversing deep gorges and the emerald green water of the Clinton River, they crossed several narrow suspension bridges.
Although it was a challenging hike, they used the opportunity to tune out from electronics and the stress of modern life to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and bond as father and daughter. They both agree that it was a trip they’ll never forget. Perhaps when our youngest daughter is older, we’ll go as a family to hike another of New Zealand’s Great Walks.