Milford Sound is the most famous of the fiords in the Fiordland National Park. It is part of the Piopiotahi Marine Reserve and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. One of New Zealand's most visited destinations, it was described by Rudyard Kipling as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’. Maori inhabitants travelled there, along what is now called the Milford Track, to collect greenstone over 1000 years ago, but it was first visited by Europeans in 1912, when John Grono landed there and named it Milford Sound after Milford Haven, in Wales.
Today you can reach Milford Sound by road from Queenstown, but for a much more leisurely experience, better to break the journey and have a stopover in Te Anau. Either way the road is a magnificent one. Whether you drive or go by coach, plan to stop along the way. The many lookouts offer great photo opportunities and there are signposted trails to take you off the beaten track.
Get close up and take an unforgettable cruise on the deep blue waters of the Sound. You can go kayaking, scuba diving or see the whole spectacular vista from above, on a scenic flight. For a different perspective, the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory at Harrison Cove offers a floating exhibit and, on a lower level, a 360-degree underwater view (no breathing apparatus required!). Back on land, you can join a guided tour of the surrounding areas or explore by yourself, on the walking and cycling tracks.
As well as being a natural wonder in its own right, the Sound is an important breeding area for the native Fiordland penguins and home to seals, dolphins and the occasional whale. Milford Sound has two permanent waterfalls - the Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls – both unforgettable against a backdrop of steep cliffs and forest.
So don’t pine for the fiords. Go see them. Book your Queenstown flights and one of our Milford Sound hotels right now and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.
Image credit Wikikiwiman
Hotels in Milford Sound start at NZ$1,398 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.