Places To Visit At Milford Sound
If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, you can hardly go past a day dedicated to the awe-inspiring beauty of Milford Sound and its Fiordland surrounds. Milford Sound itself can really only best be appreciated through a cruise out to the Tasman Sea and back, but even the drive to the sound is a journey in itself. Driving to Milford Sound from the town of TeAnau, there is plenty to see and experience. Take your own car – or hop on a bus or coac, along the Milford Sound Highway, the 45th South Parallel and the Homer Tunnel to the Milford Sound Visitor Centre where your cruise departs. Here are some of the photo stops and notable highlights you may wish to see along the way:
Shorter Trips By Boat
45km into trip: Boyd Creek – take a short 250m walk to stretch your legs and see the waterfalls.
59km into trip: Mirror Lakes – pools reflect the beautiful Earl Mountains, this stop is picturesque.
60km into trip: Disappearing Mountains – watch the mountain seemingly sink into the surrounding forests.
61km into trip: 45th parallel – this road crosses the halfway point between the Equator and the South Pole.
Longer Boat Trips
All these trips are between 80 and 120 km.
Divide and Key Summit – The lowest East to West pass in the Southern Alps; the Key Summit Viewpoint (918 m walk) gives a stunning view of the Eglinton, Hollyford and Greenstone valleys.
Marian Corner – A 10-20 minute walk brings you to waterfalls.
Homer Tunnel and Kea birds – This tunnel descends 129 meters over its 1.2km length with a gradient of 1 in 10. Definitely take the opportunity to park before entering the tunnel as Kea birds (a native mountain parrot) peck and climb all over your car. This is a great photo opportunity.
The Chasm – Fascinating formations are carved into the landscape.
Mt Tutuko – View the highest (2723km) and most glaciated peak in Fiordland National park.
Now that you are about to head down the sound, though, you should be ready to experience the gullies, valleys, peaks, cliffs, points, coves, rocks and waterfalls that had Milford Sound voted the number one travel destination in the world in 2008.
Some highlights of your Milford Sound cruise are Mitre Peak, one of the tallest mountains in the world to rise directly from the sea floor; Copper Point, so named for the copper found in its cliffs but notable also for the winds that often reach up to 100 knots on warm afternoons; Fairy Falls, which is one of the few waterfalls to drop directly into the fjord; Mt Pembroke and its million year old glacier; and much more. You will also almost certainly meet seals, penguins, sea birds and dolphins during your Milford Sound cruise – and maybe even a whale or two.
Smith Johnson: I travel all over the world and am also interested in mountain climbing and adventures. Visited some beautiful places during my tours and Milford Sound, and New-Zealand is one of my favourite places.