Milford Sound is on the South Island in New Zealand. It is a natural fiord, which is a must see destination if you travel to New Zealand. I stayed in Queenstown and drove out to Milford Sound for a few days.
The guide books and Google will tell you it’s about a 3 hour drive – but don’t be fooled! A one-way trip took us more like 4.5 hours – the whole area is beautiful, with majestic scenery – BUT the roads can be primitive to say the least! Prepare to get very used to seeing signs that say “Beware falling rock”!!
Top Things To Explore in Milford Sound
#1. Drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound
If you are up for an adventure and have time, the drive itself, is well worth doing. We elected to drive and stay at Milford Sound Lodge for 3 nights.
We went during the New Zealand winter and if you do the same, make sure you have plenty of warm layers and snow chains for your car! The coldest months are June and July, when the average temperature is around 5-6 degrees (Celsius).
The other thing is to allow plenty of time for the drive – you will want extra time to stop at regular intervals and take in the amazing scenery, it’s fantastic!
#2. Cruise the Fiord
There are several different cruise packages to choose from, so it depends on your budget and time you can allow.
We elected to go on a smaller boat, which was also advertised as the longest cruise on Milford Sound of 2 hours and 15 minutes. This cruise meant that we could get really close to the wildlife of the fiord and we saw dolphins, seals and the Fiordland crested penguin (the rarest penguin in the world).
The other amazing experience was standing on the front deck of the boat as we went under and through waterfalls!! (The boat provided waterproofs for each customer). Everybody had a cup and ‘caught’ waterfall water to taste it and I can say it tasted much better than the bottled variety I usually buy!
#3. Diving at Milford Sound
Wherever I am in the world, if I get the chance to scuba dive, I will! The diving at Milford Sound has been described as the 8th Wonder of the World and I have to say, the diving experience there was an awesome, out-of-this-world experience.
I went diving with a company called Descend and elected to join up with the 7 hour trip for qualified divers. The Piopiotahi marine reserve is home to black coral, which is usually only found in extremely deep water trenches. This coral shows up as white on a black skeleton and inhabits the underwater cliff faces of the fiord.
The variety of fish that we saw was brilliant and we played around with two curious seals who came to check us out! I also saw a shark in the distance and a majestic octopus scurrying for cover as we approached. I’ve only ever seen an octopus on a night dive before, so this was special.
Would I recommend Milford Sound?
Absolutely, it’s a big thumbs up from me! If you like being in the middle of nature, experiencing some of the most amazing experiences the natural world has to offer, then Milford Sound (and in fact the whole of New Zealand!) is the place to go.
Also check out the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Rotorua as great places to visit in the North Island.