The hike to Lake Marian was one of the highlights during my 6-week stay in Fiordland. The lake which is located in a hanging valley about 17 miles before you reach Milford Sound is one of the jewels of New Zealand’s South Island.
What to bring: since the hike takes 1-3 hours one way (depends on your physical fitness) you definitely need enough drinking water. Some snacks like nuts or fruits are great to refill your energy while the track leads uphill all the time through wild and untouched jungle. Also bring your hiking boots. I met a French couple with chucks – believe me that’s no fun. The path is muddy, slippery and steep. (Many thanks to the New Zealand Department of Conservation for preparing and marking all the paths.)
As in most parts of the South Island you will be welcomed on the track by hundreds of mosquitos and sandflies. Bring your repellent or/and wear long clothes. These little shitty beasts love your sweaty skin. The last important thing you should bring is your swim gear. Once you finished the climb up the valley you will be rewarded with a stunning green shimmering, crystal clear, icy cold lake in between the beautiful mountains of Fjordland Nationalpark. There are picture perfect picnic places (just take a seat on one of the huge stones that are sitting along the lake shore) or have a refreshing swim in the clear water.
Lake Marian with beautifil reflections.
Good to know: Toilets are located at the car park and at the lake. Make sure you return to the car park before the darkness is coming – it’s absolutely not recommendable to go the path without daylight. If it’s snowy bring a hiking stick and check the avalanche forecast. The path is situated under huge cliffs and slopes. Be aware of rock falling down.
Waterfall on your way to Lake Marian
Conclusion: the 1-3 hour hike to Lake Marian is of the best in New Zealand. Bring enough water and your hiking boots. About 20 minutes after the car park you will reach a waterfall. Don’t assume as most of the tourists that this is the highlight of this place. Keep walking to the lake – it’s worth it!
go to >>> part 2 Gertrude Sattle >>> part 3 Key Summit