Milford Sound is located in New Zealands’ Fiordland National Park and is the country’s top tourist attraction. This is one of the wettest places on Earth receiving over 6 metres of rain each year. We were incredibly lucky to be visiting on a gorgeous sunny day.
Milford Sound is remote and unless you have a tent or camper-van and stop in one of the national park campsites there are no real options for accommodation. People often visit as a day trip from either Queenstown or Te Anau. It is possible to visit by plane or helicopter otherwise the drive from Queenstown is 4 hours each way so makes for a long and tiring day! (Or if you are a keen hiker you can walk to Milford Sound via the famous Milford Track said to be one of the “finest walks in the world”).
We chose to stay for two nights in Te Anau, a lovely lakeside town with plenty of accommodation, cafes and restaurants. The drive from Te Anau takes around 2 hours.
Indeed the drive between Te Anau and Milford Sound is stunning and certainly one of the most scenic road trips we have ever made. There are several viewing points along the way including Mirror Lakes (above). We would definitely recommended you allow extra time to make a few stops.
Above is the view from the road as you approach the Homer Tunnel.
Until the early 1950’s the only way to see Milford Sound was either by air or by boat. However in 1953 the Homer Tunnel was opened which allowed access by road.
We pre-booked our Milford Sound boat trip with Jucy Cruises. Rough Guides New Zealand suggested pre-booking and as we were visiting in the height of summer we decided to do so. We used a New Zealand discount online booking site called bookme. We only actually saved $12 but at least we had our trip booked and the saving paid towards lunch!
There are about 4 or 5 similar boat companies organising 1.5 hour tours of Milford Sound. They all start at the jetty and sail to the mouth of the Sound at the Tasman Sea and back again. Some offer different services such as snacks or drinks.
There is a cafe at Milford Sound which sells good quality reasonably priced snacks including drinks, soups, cakes and sandwiches. Many notices advise you to fill your car with petrol before leaving Te Anau as there are no petrol stations in Milford Sound. This isn’t strictly correct as there is one. However the petrol is more expensive here and it is a long walk if you do run out…