Five Reasons to Visit Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound is one of our favorite places on the South Island of New Zealand.  In fact Rudyard Kipling once called Milford Sound the “eighth Wonder of the World.”

queenstown new zealand rainbow
We were lucky to see a glorious rainbow

During our travels around both islands of New Zealand, one of the highlights of our adventure was the drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound.  We saw rain, snow, sun and drizzle during our drive, and the scenery was simply breathtaking.

milford sound new zealand
Driving to Milford Sound we ran into a steam train… i mean, why wouldn’t we???

Milford Sound is about 288 km from Queenstown, or about a 4 hour drive.  It’s a gorgeous drive, however it’s very important to plan the drive very carefully.  Living in the US we are used to gas stations, restaurants, and stores every couple of miles, however in New Zealand, they are few and far between.  Especially on the roads connecting two larger towns, which can sometimes be a 2 hour drive (we learned this the hard way!) 🙂

milford sound new zealand kea bird
The endangered Kea is the world’s only alpine parrot, and one of the most intelligent birds. The Kea was been crowned Bird of the Year in 2017.
MIlford Sound New Zealand
The Kea was very resourceful while trying to get into our car!

This part of New Zealand is staggeringly beautiful with amazing feats of nature around every curve and tunnel.  MIlford Sound New Zealand MIlford Sound New ZealandWhen we arrived at Milford Sound, we were in awe at the beauty.  One of the best ways to experience Milford Sound, is to take a boat cruise.

MIlford Sound New Zealand
Milford Sound…. The eighth wonder of the world (according to Rudyard Kipling anyway!)
MIlford Sound New Zealand
Milford Sound Boat Cruise
MIlford Sound New Zealand waterfall
Hot Hubby trying to stay dry from the boat spray!

There are many companies offering cruises, and I would strongly suggest you research the various companies, determine which best fits your needs, and make reservations early as they do sell out.MIlford Sound New Zealand waterfalls

MIlford Sound New Zealand nature

It’s difficult to try and share in words and photographs how special this massive fiord is. We gazed in awe at the towering peaks, cascading waterfalls and amazing wildlife.  MIlford Sound New Zealand nature MIlford Sound New Zealand sealWe were even fortunate to spot a penguin.  MIlford Sound New Zealand penguinThe piece de resistance of our trip was seeing the incredible 5,560ft-high Mitre Peak.  This place is magical and there are waterfalls at every turn.

MIlford Sound New Zealand
The views were incredible!

Tips to make your Milford Sound experience incredible

  • The weather is extremely unpredictable.  During our drive we saw rain, gushing waterfalls, snow and glorious sunshine.  Dress in layers and be prepared for everything!
  • Plan your food, potty breaks, drinks and gas with precision.  There are no shops or petrol stations after you reach Te Anau, and Milford Sound is still a two hour drive away
  • There is very limited cellphone coverage on the mountainous roads, so if you are relying on google maps or other navigational apps, you might want to throw it back old school and take a map just in case.

    MIlford Sound New Zealand queenstown
    Milford Sound is Simply Stunning!
  • Consider spending the night in Te Anau, which is considered the gateway to Milford Sound, to break up the drive.  We did not and it made for a loooooong day of driving home through the mountains, in complete darkness, trying to avoid stray sheep.
  • Be sure to stop at one of the fantastic wineries along the way!
    MIlford Sound New Zealand wine
    Where’s Waldo????

    MIlford Sound New Zealand wine

Have you been to Milford Sound?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

About The Author


I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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