Milford Sound – Local’s Tips

Everybody knows about Milford Sound; we are going to give you some Local’s Tips to make sure you pick the right options and make the most of your visit to the region.


Milford Sound
Milford Sound


Day Trip

If you are visiting the Southern Lakes on a short visit and want to see the 8th wonder of the world then a day trip to Milford Sound is perfect. You can travel by road or by air. Choose from coach, helicopter or fixed wing plane options both or one way.

All budgets can fit this day trip ranging from full day coach-cruise-coach options including yummy lunches while you cruise the fiord, or choose to take a fixed wing small plane flight into the spectacular Milford Sound Airport, or even a helicopter with stops at glaciers and private West coast beaches on the way! Milford Sound Airport is claimed to be one of the most spectacular landings in the world.

You are picked up from your accommodation by selected operators and dropped back at your doorstep. The cruise is about 2 hours and is plenty to take in the mammoth sites the fiord has to offer and explore the marine life inclusive of seals, dolphins and penguins. Lunch options are available on most cruise vessels. There is also an underwater observatory to view the black corals, these look white when alive!

You can drive there and back, hop on a cruise (we recommend book the cruise beforehand to avoid disappointment). Pro Tip – This is a 5-hour long drive on a difficult road one way. We advise coach trip if you are planning to take the road, the expert drivers take the wheel while you enjoy the stunning Milford Road journey, short walks and photo stops along the way. This will surely keep you and your camera busy!


Helicopter landing on a glacier near Milford Sound
Helicopter landing on a glacier near Milford SoundCaption



Photo stops along the great journey to Milford Sound

Whether driving yourself or enjoying a tour, we recommend stopping at these fantastic short walks and viewpoints to make the most of your journey into Milford


Mirror Lakes – A short board walk from the carpark with viewing decks give an amazing lookout to these lakes. They show perfect reflections of the Earl Mountains on a calm day.

Lake Gunn – There is a beautiful Department of Conservation campsite located near this picturesque lake.

Monkey Creek – Great spot to stop and fill up your water bottles with fresh spring water. Monkey Creek is a great place to see the famed alpine parrot – The Kea!

Homer Tunnel – 1.2kms of pure engineering brilliance, this tunnel was once the longest gravel-surfaced tunnel in the world.

The Chasm – A beautiful walk through native forest. This walk awakens all your senses with sounds of birds and waterfalls, smells of a fresh forest, the touch of nature and soothing sights for your eyes.

The road to Milford Sound
The road to Milford Sound



More than a Day options

Te Anau

If you have more than a day Te Anau is a great little township on the shores of the lake by the same name. Lake Te Anau is the second largest lake in New Zealand complimented with an incredible glow worm cave boat trip. You can cut the drive time by half if you stayed a night in Te Anau and travelled to Milford Sound from here. You can also access an overnight or day trip to Doubtful Sound cruise from nearby Lake Manapouri.


Lake Marian

If you are staying in Te Anau and driving yourself to Milford Sound an incredible alpine lake is a hidden gem in this region. Instagrammer’s you cannot miss this walk. 3 hours return and reasonable fitness is required. If you are game take your togs and jump in for a rrrrrrrrrefrrrrrrreshing swim!


The Milford Sound Swing

A sunset photo of you (and your loved one, yes, it is a swing for two!!!) on the Milford Sound Swing is now a bragging right. Built by a young lover for his partner who both lived in Milford Camp is now a tourist attraction, rightly so, it is the best seat in the house to take in the beauty of this dramatic setting!

Your mission should you choose to accept it, find the swing!


Pro Tip - If you are driving to Milford Sound allow 1 to 1.5 hours prior to your cruise departure to find a car park and make your way to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal to check-in 20 minutes prior to your cruise departure. $10 per hour parking fee applies.


Things to do in Fiordland click here