Fiordland National Park is located in the southwest of the South Island. In one of the rainiest areas in the world, we believe it to be the most spectacular natural park in New Zealand. The area is a real paradise for hikers. True sports enthusiasts can walk from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound via the Milford Track in four days. The latter area is the main attraction of Fiordland National Park for most tourists.
To visit this beautiful glacier fiord, it is wise to depart very early from Te Anau. The advantage is that you arrive in Milford before the large stream of tourists from Queenstown.
During the approximately 120-kilometre-long drive you will pass the Mirror Lakes. It is nice to make a stop here. About 20 kilometres before the end, the 1.2-kilometre-long Homer tunnel looms up with a beautiful winding mountain road immediately afterwards on the way down. After this, it is a short distance to Milford Sound. Count on a total travel time of 3 hours from Te Anau.
Boat trip through Milford Sound
In the harbour, boats leave all day long for a trip through the large inlet (Sound means inlet). About 1.5 million years ago this inlet was cut out of the rocks. In total, the inlet is over 16 kilometres long. During the boat trip, you see a lot of waterfalls from the high mountains plunging down. The boat also sails along the Mitre Peak. At almost 1,700 metres, this is the highest mountain in the world that lies directly on the sea.
If you are lucky, many dolphins jump behind and next to the boat. Occasionally, you can also see a whale. Sometimes the captain deliberately stops the engine for a short while. You can then enjoy the tranquillity on the water, only interrupted now and then by the sound of the water rushing down one of the many waterfalls.
Tips for visiting Milford Sound
- The weather is often very rainy. Therefore, bring a good waterproof jacket.
- Sometimes it is very sunny and then sunscreen comes in handy
- There are a lot of sand mosquitoes (sandflies). They sting especially in the morning and evening. A good insect repellent is essential
- The earlier you are in Milford Sound, the calmer it is
- You can also decide to spend the night in one of the many hotels in Milford Sound. You can then take the boat in the early morning.
Also, a beautiful area, but more difficult to reach, is Doubtful Sound. You can only get there if you have booked through a travel agency. Via Manapouri, you reach Deep Cove, with two boat trips and a bus ride over a mountain pass. Here, boats are waiting for a trip on the Sound of Peace and Serenity. This is one of the largest freshwater pools in the world. The possibilities to take a boat here are much more limited than in Milford Sound. The advantage is that it is a lot quieter here than Milford Sound.
The fiord, with a length of almost 40 kilometres, is very inhospitable. You see a wilderness of mountain peaks, rainforests and fjords. Many seals and bottlenose dolphins live in the area. Bring rainwear and insect repellent with you here too.