The Eighth Wonder of the World, as people like to refer to Milford Sound, has amazing scenery and wildlife. It is quite a drive from Te Anau or Queenstown but well worth the effort. Beware! It rains a lot, so blue skies are not a given. Pack your raincoat and sturdy shoes and you are good to go. We will give you 5 must-do activities.
Fiordland National Park
Milford Sound is situated in the northwest of Fiorland. The road to Milford is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand. There is plenty to do and see on your way there. So take your time and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. If you plan on staying in the sounds for a few days. Book the only accommodation well in advance. Especially in summer it is fully booked.
On your way to Milford there are several interesting stops along the way. Mirror Lake is one of them. Yes it is a popular stop for all tourists going to the sound, so be prepared for many other people taking pictures. You might want to leave Te Anau later in the morning or early afternoon because all the busses will be gone by then.
The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound (and back) is 240 km. An eight hour day is needed if you plan to take in the many scenic sights and short walks along the way, and do a boat cruise on Milford Sound.
Milford Sound Cruise
Going on a Milford Sound cruise is an obvious choice. It is the best way to explore the sounds, see waterfalls and meet marine life. It is accessible to people of all ages and fitness. You will see all the highlights of the Milford Sound including a playfull group of seals, the Mitre Peak, and the Stirling Falls. Watch out! You can get wet. Book your cruise in advance especially during the busy summer season. You can drive your car from Te Anau to Milford or pick one of the busses leaving Queenstown or Te Anau.
There are a couple of different operators running the Milford Sound cruises. You can book your favorite cruise in advance.
Scenic Flight Fiordland
Stay a little bit longer and enjoy all the beautiful things Milford Sound has to offer. You can even see Milford Sound from the air.
Book a scenic flight with one of the operators and combine it with a Milford Sound cruise to get to the total experience. Your pilot narrates the natural wonders located within Fiordland National Park, part of the UNESCO-listed region of Te Wahipounamu.
After a gentle landing at the airstrip of Milford you can easily swap the plain for a boat. You can even choose an overnight stay on the Milford Sound Mariner.
Hike to the Chasm
The Chasm is a super popular and quick walk on the Milford Road. A great place to stop and experience the power of water on your way to Milford.
It is only a 400 meter, 20 minute, easy return track. Two-foot bridges over the Cleddau River offer dramatic views of a series of powerful waterfalls.
The bigger the rain, the bigger the river. Best at when it is chucking it down Fiordland style and has been doing so for 12 hours beforehand. Visit early in the morning or late in the evening, when the midday pulse of tourists is not there.
Please note! You have to book well in advance and pay quiet the fee to be able to hike the Milford Track. But once you have booked your Milford adventure be prepared to do ‘the greatest’ walk on earth. It will be a journey along valleys carved by glaciers, wander through ancient rainforests and admire cascading waterfalls.
It takes 3 – 5 days to complete the 53.5 km from Glade Warf to Milford. When you are not lucky enough to book this hike, you can always do half a day or full day tour on the track. Your guide will give you plenty of information about the track.