Milford Sound is in a pretty remote location in Fiordland, along the south west coast of New Zealand's South Island. The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is beyond breathtaking. The drive is long and there are no gas stations, so fill up before you leave Te Anau
We were there in late November and the river valleys were all exploding with wild blooming lupins. If you plan your trip during New Zealand's late spring and summer, be sure to give yourself enough time to stop and explore this colourful and fragrant display.
Demand is high so plan ahead for accommodations and tour bookings. There are rooms and RV camping facilities at Milford Lodge. We discovered there is no tenting option right at Milford Sound, so we drove the fairly short distance to the quirky Gunns Camp to pitch our tent for the night. There are other DOC spots along the way also, but the toilet situation at the ones we stopped at were beyond disgusting. Gunn's was a beautiful spot run by excellent friendly hosts who have put a lot of fun and character into the place.
Milford Sound is notorious for two things: terrible weather, and those pesky sand flies. We lucked out with a gorgeous warm sunny day with light winds, so our views were pretty spectacular. But, you can't control the weather and since you have to book ahead, just hope for the best. I have heard people say they prefer visiting Milford on rainy or moody weather days, as the low cloud can add a real sense of drama to the place. Also, when it rains, and it does rain a lot here, the towering mountain cliffs along the steep shores of the fiord run with endless waterfalls spilling into the ocean. We were there after an abnormal dry spell, so we only got to see the few waterfalls that run year round, regardless of rainfall.
As for the sandflies, we weren't bothered too much by them on this day at Milford Sound itself. The spot we camped at, Gunns Camp, was just riddled with them, and we got devoured! Bring your sand fly spray and appropriate clothing to keep them away. All of this is worth it for the awe inspiring landscapes you will be exploring.
Views Along the Journey to Milford Sound
On the Water in Milford Sound
You haven't even been on the water yet and you've already been gob smacked by the colourful lupin infested river valleys, road side waterfalls and grand mountain peaks on your almost 2 hour drive since you left Te Anau. Now you're here. You've finally arrived at this most sought after of tourist destinations in the far reaches of New Zealand's Fiordland, Milford Sound. Surely it can't live up to the hype, right? Scroll on to see the views we witnessed from the deck of our cruise ship, and you be the judge.
We were incredibly lucky to have the beautiful weather we did, and found it very much worth the trouble and expense to get to Milford Sound. We would definitely do it again!
If you've been to Milford Sound, let me know how it was for you in the comments below!