Milford Road, New Zealand
Of all the Sounds in New Zealand, Milford Sound is definitely one of the most popular among tourists and locals. It is located near the south island town of Te Anau and the drive is just as scenic as your destination, so don’t be tempted to rush! If you want to do even more exploring, consider picking up a rental car in Queenstown. That way, you can go on a real road trip without having to drive back and add to your mileage.
Once you arrive at Milford Sound, take a scenic cruise or nature cruise out on the fiord. Milford Sound is dominated by magnificent Mitre Peak, that rises sheer out of Milford Sound; and see Homer Falls as it tumbles down the rock faces. At Milford Sound visit the Underwater Observatory. There are also overnight cruises, where you can stay out on Milford Sound overnight, do a bit of kayaking, and learn about the local flora and fauna from the nature guides on board.
Sights along the way
In order to gain access to the road leading to Milford Sound, you will need to make your way to Te Anau. From here, the road has a number of twists and turns but it’s really easy to navigate and it’s pretty much a case of following the road.
Milford Road will take you directly through the very heart of the Fiordland National Park as well as the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.
The first main sight that you will come across is the stunning Eglinton Valley that was once full of glacier ice. Further on, you will come to the Mirror Lakes and if the water is perfectly still, you can see an exact reflection of the Earl Mountains that tower above.
Next up is the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain where the mountain ahead looks like it’s getting smaller rather than bigger as you approach. This is an optical illusion of course and it’s quite mind blowing.
Lake Gunn is a great place to park the car, stretch your legs and enjoy an easy 45 minute walk that takes you on a loop back to your car.
When you reach the Homer Tunnel, you are almost there. If you like, you can take a short walk to The Chasm just before you reach Milford Sound.
Tips to remember
The road has a fair amount of twists and turns and requires a fair amount of concentration but it’s not a particularly difficult or hair raising route. Some parts are actually quite flat and there is always something to see.
Make sure that you take your camera with for the trip and feel free to stop as often as you like so that you can capture as many special moments of film as possible.
The roads in New Zealand are made for scenic tours and there is never a dull moment no matter where you drive. Do yourself a favour when planning your New Zealand holiday and opt for an adventurous road trip rather than staying in a single town. There are also offers plenty of options for accommodation in Te Anau, though these frequently books out over summer, and during holiday periods; you should book your rooms well in advance.