Ancient rainforests, deep black fiords, and rock-carved glaciers – the incredible landscape of Milford Sound certainly makes you sit up and pay attention. For nature loving kiwis, exploring this part of our backyard, a remote wilderness that feels like an otherworldly place has been on the top of many bucket lists. Now, more than ever, the call of the wild is ever present – with the freedom to explore and discover new destinations, something we are privileged to here in Aotearoa.
Here are some general travel routes to consider along with some helpful tips to make your dream Milford Sound holiday a reality.
How to get there?
When you want to explore Milford Sound your way, a self-drive holiday is a great option. Travel by car, motorhome, or campervan, it’s a stunning roadie into the great Fiordland wilderness – what has been described by Rudyard Kipling as the Eighth Wonder of the World. If you choose to self-drive, remember that there are no petrol stations or shops between Te Anau and Milford Sound so make sure you fuel up and stock up on supplies in Te Anau.
By Coach and Cruise
With options departing from both Te Anau and Queenstown, several tour operators offer a Coach and Cruise option which allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy the wonders of Milford Sound on a guided bus and boat tour. Morning departures from Queenstown can be as early as 7 am and return about 7.30 pm. Te Anau Coach and Cruise options depart as early as 8.30 am and return about 5 pm. These are always family friendly with optional add-ons for kayaking, picnic lunches, or a scenic flight so you can bring the whānau.
By Scenic flight
Expedition Fiordland is the ultimate way to experience Fiordland and beyond with Southern Lakes Helicopters. Linking Queenstown to the best of Fiordland, you fly from Queenstown via Mavora to Te Anau and then the Kepler Mountains – home of one of New Zealand’s Great Walk. Your full day expedition includes a scenic flight from Queenstown, a guided walk along the Kepler Track, a 4WD experience and historic steamship boat cruise. A gourmet lunch, private hiking guide and transfers are all included in this once in a lifetime experience.
A walk on the wild side
Exploring Milford Sound by foot means you’re likely to discover on one of the three New Zealand Great Walks in the area. In 1986, the United Nations recognised Fiordland as an official UNESCO World Heritage site so expect extraordinary beauty as you explore this natural wonderland. The renowned Milford Track, Routeburn Track and Kepler Track all weave their way in and around Fiordland with single and multi-day tramps options available.
When to go?
Spring, summer, autumn, and winter – every season is a good reason to visit Milford Sound.
The magic of Milford Sound is prevalent all year-round, with mighty cascading waterfalls that are even more spectacular after rainfall. As one of the wettest places on earth, the notoriously fickle weather experienced in Milford Sound adds to the dramatic environment that will unfold before you – from lush rainforests to flowing rivers, the flora and fauna come alive. Just remember to check the road status before setting off in case of any closures or delays.
Where to stay?
An overnight stay in Te Anau, your gateway to Fiordland is the best way to explore Milford Sound. That’s because this remote destination deserves your undivided attention -it’s best to adjust to Fiordland time and savour this fantasy filled landscape carved by glaciers over the past 100,000 years without any rush. With a variety of accommodation providers in Te Anau, ranging from lakefront lodges, holiday parks, hotels, motels and villas, there are plenty of options available for you to choose from so you can stay, play, and discover Milford Sound your way.