Milford Sound, also known as Piopiotahi in Maori, is a fjord located in the southwest of the South Island of New Zealand. Milford Sound is the most popular place in New Zealand , besides being called the “eighth wonder of the world” by Rudyard Kipling, and it is located within the Fiordland National Park, which is within the Te Wahipounamu, declared UNESCO World Heritage Site
Long before the first European settlers found their way to the shores of Milford Sound, Maori fishing and sought the coveted pounamu . They believed in the creation of the fjord by Tu-te-raki-whanoa, a divine being. After the discovery of the fjord by the first European, John Grono, in 1823, it took 56 years for the first settler to settle on the shores of Milford Sound. It was Donald Sutherland, a Scottish-born immigrant who settled in Sound in 1879 and in 1891, with his wife Elizabeth, created a hostel there to accommodate tourists and hikers. After the death of the two in 1928, the hostel was replaced by a government-built hostel.
From 1935 on, the construction of the Homer Tunnel began, which was not completed until 1954. Through the tunnel, it was for the first time possible to reach the Milford Sound via a road connection.
Milford Sound stretches 15 kilometers inland from the Tasman Sea and is surrounded by steep rocks that reach more than 1200 on each side. Between the peaks is The Elephant -The Elephant- at 1517 masl, which resembles the head of an elephant, and Lion Mountain (Lion Mountain) at 1302 meters above sea level, in the shape of a crouched lion.
Access : Coordinates: / By bus : Most buses run from Queenstown or Te Anau. Buses in Queenstown depart at around 7am and usually return at 8pm. The one-way trip takes about 5 hours and requires a bit of sitting meat. From Te Anau the journey takes only 2 hours.
By cruise ship -Sailing boat :
Every year, dozens of large cruise ships that sail through the Tasman Sea resort to Milford Sound as part of their itinerary in New Zealand. / By foot : You can also reach Milford Sound on foot, being the end of the world famous Milford Track /
By car : From Te Anau, it is 120 km on State Highway 94 , Manapouri – 15 min drive from Te Anau- is another place to start exploring Fiordland. Daily departures to Doubtful Sound (also within Fiordland National Park). /
- water falls : In addition to its impressive mountain scenery, Milford Sound is also known for its numerous, sometimes impressive waterfalls. Probably the most famous waterfalls that are hit on every boat trip are the 151 m high Stirling Falls and the 162 m high Bowen Falls.
- Underwater observatory : Harrison Cove is home to an observatory operated by Southern Discoveries, a subsidiary of the SKEGGS Group, which provides insight into the underwater world of part of the Milford Sound 10 meters below sea level. The observatory can only be reached by boat.
- Donald Sutherland’s grave. The grave of the first settler, Scotsman Donald Sutherland, is located behind the hotel, between the staff quarters.
- Miter Peak, 1,692 meters high, Miter Peak is the iconic attraction of Milford Sound. The mountain is so named because of its distinctive shape, similar to the head of a mitra used by Christian bishops.
- Eglinton Valley , former farmland included in the National Park , Wide vast plateau with great views. / Milford sound Hwy , Awesome driving experience.
- Hollyford Valley lookout -Pops View Look Out , great viewing area on the way from Te Anau to Milford Sound road / Monkey Creek , One of the many stops along the road to Milford Sound , Mountain views, running creek – great photo opportunity.
- Tutoko Suspension Bridge , A small Wooden Suspension Bridge on the way to Milford ,great place for some photographs / Tutoko valey route , 112km along the Milford Sound Road from Te Anau.
- Mirror Lakes , the most popular stop on the Milford Road , 57km along the Milford Sound Road from Te Anau / The Homer Tunnel / The chasm , 110km along the Milford Sound Road from Te Anau.
- Lake Gunn , 75km along the Milford Sound Road from Te Anau / The Key Summit / Lake Marian walking track / The Lake Marian.
Hut fees : Clinton Hut , 40 bunks / Mintaro Hut , 40 bunks / Dumpling Hut , 40 bunks / Fees : fees for staying at huts on the Milford Track : Huts , 29 October 2019 – 30 April 2020 : New Zealand citizens , Adult (18+ years): $70 per person, per night
Child (17 years and under): free but booking still required / International visitors: Adult (18+ years): $140 per person, per night – Child (17 years and under): $140 per person, per night /
Tips : The Milford Sound is within a national park, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, freedom camping at Milford Sound is strictly forbidden. / parking is strictly prohibited, except in designated areas, and is also monitored by Rangers.
State Highway 94 is a high pass and regularly has icy conditions between June and November. It is also subject to avalanches. All cars must carry chains in winter , High risk sections of the road are marked with a red cross on a blue background / All drone use must be authorised by DOC.
Activities : The drive to Milford Sound is full of sights and fantastic views. The 120 km long route is considered one of the most beautiful mountain roads in the world / Hiking , The Milford Track is a hiking trail in Fiordland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island. The track takes 4 days to walk / sightseeing / photo opportunities , Spectacular scenery with wonderful wildlife, including dolphins, seals and penguins /
/ Guided walks to The Milford Track / Day Cruising , Experience a daylight cruise on Milford Sound for amazing views of the fiord and its wildlife / overnight cruises in Milford Sound / scenic flights , variety of airlines offer daily Milford Sound scenic flights on board small aircrafts / kayaking , Kayaking Milford Sound is an eco-friendly way to experience The majesty of the thundering waterfalls and rocky cliffs / kayak tours , several companies running Milford Sound kayaking tours /
fishing in Milford Sound , at the northern coastline from Dale Point to Freshwater Basin. No fishing is allowed within the marine reserve / Diving , discover the fiord’s unique animal and plant life, including the famous black coral / sailing , you can visit Milford Sound in your own boat / stay overnight , public accommodation provider in Milford Sound, called Milford Sound Lodge , Meal service is provided in this service and helicopters are used to transport luggage between the cabins. camping is forbidden / bus day tours /
Go next : Te Anau / Queenstown , New Zealand / Doubtful Sound / Dusky Sound / Fiordland /