Not visiting Milford Sound when you travel to New Zealand is like missing out on the Eiffel Tower when in Paris! Here are your best options when it comes to exploring Milford Sound.
1. Milford Sound via Scenic Flight
When the landscapes are as grand as those surrounding Milford, it makes sense to take to the skies. A Milford Sound Scenic Flight flies the length of the Sound itself; offering a birds’ eye view of thundering waterfalls, rainforest-clad cliffs and snow-topped peaks. But a scenic flight isn’t just about Milford – en route, you’ll fly over some of Fiordland’s most remote, craggy, majestic locations. Depending on the option you book, you can even land on a misty Milford mountain or a glacier.
Milford Sound scenic flights depart from the charming town of Te Anau (itself perched on the edge of a beautiful lake!) While a flight is the most expensive of the options on this list, it’s also the most memorable – there’s nothing like soaring high over landscapes so grand and unique, they made World Heritage status! Learn More Here.
2. Milford Sound via the Milford Road
There is a lot of hype around the Milford Road. Frankly, it’s worth every bit of attention it gets.
The road to Milford is as beautiful as the fiord itself and is most definitely worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime. Better still, let someone else do the driving while you take in the views.
Milford Sound can be visited as a day trip from Queenstown, but this makes for a very, very long day. Board a bus for the scenic 4-hour road trip, arrive in Milford Sound, board a boat for a 1.5-hour cruise, and then repeat the same four hour ride to get you back to Queenstown. It’s do-able and definitely popular, but very tiring.
Instead, we suggest basing yourself in Te Anau; only a few hours from Milford Sound and incredibly scenic in itself. It’s the best way to make the drive more relaxed & enjoyable, and you get to see another very special part of New Zealand.
3. Milford Sound via Boat Cruise
A boat cruise is the most popular option when it comes to Milford Sound – and its easy to see why. A boat is the best way to get up close to gushing waterfalls, scenery and, if you’re lucky, some playful wildlife.
You have a choice of commercial operators offering short cruises; ranging from 1.5 to 3 hours. Their itineraries are very similar and the crew on the boats are friendly, experienced locals. Take your pick based on convenience, availability and budget. In peak season, these cruises do fill up quickly, so advance booking is recommended.
4. Milford Sound via Kayak tour
If you’re reasonably fit and can take in fighting the elements on occasion, kayaking is an incredibly immersive and authentic way to have a full on ‘Milford’ experience (expect to get wet, although you’re unlikely to fall in!) Winter & Spring is a great time to explore by paddle power – local residents like seals and penguins tend to be more active during the cooler months.
Our Southern Lakes Milford Sound Scenic Flight is a New Zealand Day Trip not to be missed – Learn more here.