The journey to Milford is just as impressive as the Sound itself. Most people visit Milford Sound as an organised day trip from Queenstown; this is one way to go but it’s so much more flexible and relaxing, not to mention cheaper, to make this journey yourself if you have access to a car.
We decided to drive to Te Anau and spend the night, continuing on to Milford Sound the next morning. You only actually need a couple of hours on the Sound cruise so you can enjoy the rest of the time on some of the surrounding hikes and just getting there, through the Fiordland National Park.
We’ve listed some of the “must see” locations and photo hotspots on the journey to Milford Sound, so you don’t miss a thing (you can also check out the map here: southerndiscoveries.co.nz).
Key Summit Track
An easy half-day (less, usually) walk on the Routeburn Track from the Milford Road, with panoramic views over Fiordland mountains and alpine lakes. Click here for more info.
Hollyford Valley Lookout
After an awe-inspiring drive from Te Anau to Milford, we arrived at the Sound already feeling like we had had our fair share of phenomenal views. But we weren’t quite done yet. In fact, the best was yet to come.
Bounded by steep clifs and dense woodland Milford Sound is the most famous fiord in New Zealand. The most popular way of experiencing it (if you can’t afford a heli-ride!) is to take a two hour boat ride down the middle of the 16km (from head of the fiord to the open sea) breathtaking Sound.
There are a few companies that offer a cruise of the Sound and they are all pretty much the same. Have a shop around on bookme.co.nz where you can find some great deals. We went with Go Orange as they were slightly cheaper and offered us free carrot cake and an on-brand orange ice lolly! They were fantastic and the Skipper even invited Sarah to drive the boat.
The highlight of our cruise wasn’t actually the cliffs looming over head, or the glimmering turquoise water. They were overshadowed by the most incredible encounter with a pod of dolphins, an experience which actually had people on the boat in tears. Check out the video:
When planning your road trip up the Milford Road to visit the sound, make sure you keep an eye on the weather. We recently met a couple who had to visit Doubtful Sound instead because of too much snowfall at Milford!
If you’ve already been and you have pictures of your own visit, we’d love to see them, Tweet us!!