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.”
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 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!) 🙂
This part of New Zealand is staggeringly beautiful with amazing feats of nature around every curve and tunnel. When 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.
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.
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. We were even fortunate to spot a penguin. The 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.
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.
- 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!
Have you been to Milford Sound? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.