With its soaring cliffs, dramatic glacial valleys, and thundering waterfalls, it’s easy to see why Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most visited sights. This natural wonder is the star attraction of Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and wildlife haven for dolphins, seals, and penguins.
Whether you cruise around the fjord, fly overhead in a helicopter, or explore Fiordland National Park by coach, Milford Sound is unforgettable from all angles. Most tours of the fjord run from Queenstown or Te Anau, and also visit highlights such as Mitre Peak, Bowen Falls, and Mount Pembroke.
Things to Know Before You Go
The weather in Milford Sound can be unpredictable, so prepare for wind and rain even in summer.
If hiking, wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water, as places to purchase supplies are limited.
Cell phone coverage is limited, but free Wi-Fi is available at the Milford Sound Information Center.
Most Milford Sound cruises are wheelchair accessible, but not all activities within Fiordland National Park are accessible to those with limited mobility, so it’s best to check in advance.
How to Get There
Milford Sound is located on the southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island, about 178 miles (287 kilometers) or 3.5 hours by road from Queenstown, and two hours by road from Te Anau. The quickest way to get to Milford Sound is by taking a plane tour from Queenstown, where the nearest international airport is located.
When to Get There
Summer (December through February) is the most popular time to visit Milford Sound, so if you want to avoid crowds, opt for spring or autumn. Winter visitors will be at the weather’s mercy, but tours and accommodation can be cheaper during this time and the area’s snow-covered peaks are a sight to see.
Natural Wonders of Fiordland National Park
The journey to Milford Sound is just as impressive as the fjord itself, and photo opportunities abound along the Milford Road. Stop at Pop’s Lookout, Mirror Lakes, and Eglinton Valley; marvel at the views as you pass the Chasm and Homer Tunnel; and look out over Lake Wakatipu, Lake Te Anau, and the Remarkables mountain range.