TE ANAU – MILFORD SOUND
Travel distance is approximately 117kms (73 miles).
Allow at least 1.5 hours drive time (not including stops).
Milford is the only fiord that can be accessed by road, making it probably the best well known fiord in New Zealand. One of the highlights of driving to Milford Sound is the famous Milford Road, offering a stunning alpine drive with plenty of places to stop to take photos of the amazing scenery.
Drivers must note that all vehicles on the Milford Road are required by law to carry chains for their vehicles over winter months and that there are no petrol stations or services between Te Anau and Milford Sound.
Some notable stops along the route to Milford Sound include:
TE ANAU DOWNS
This small township is the departure point for the Milford Track and has the closest accommodation for both the Milford Track and the end and the beginning of the Routeburn Track at The Divide.
Combine a magnificent setting and an abundance of brown and rainbow trout and you have one of New Zealand’s premier fly-fishing rivers.
A great place to stretch your legs and on a clear, still day this is also a great photo opportunity! A 5-minute walk along a platform to small lakes which provide (on a fine day) a picture perfect reflection of the Earl mountains as it glistens in the water reflection. Waterfowl and wetland plants can also be seen against a backdrop of beech forest.
HOMER TUNNEL WALK
On the eastern side of the Homer tunnel a walk leads through a natural alpine garden. During summer the native plants come into flower and make delightful viewing.
An interpretive display has been provided to show the effect of avalanches on the Milford road and give some information on the wildlife of the Eglinton valley. Toilets are also available here.
A 20-minute return trip with a couple of foot bridges over the Cleddau River offering spectacular views of a series of waterfalls.
Considered one of the world’s top travel destinations and acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination, Milford Sound is truly a destination to savour on your self-drive journey.
Nestled in the World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park, eco tourism lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will love the stunning, untouched beauty that makes Milford Sound the ‘Eighth Natural Wonder of the World’!
Unfortunately accommodation is not abundant in this small township, however there are two unique opportunities to make your stay in Milford extra special. Real Journeys Overnight Cruises provides a very special bed and breakfast experience with a choice of private cabins with ensuite bathrooms or bunk-style quad share compartments. However, if sleeping on the water isn’t quite what you had planned, or it doesn’t fit your travel budget, Milford Sound Lodge offers luxurious riverside chalets as well as cosy dorms and private twin/double rooms, rainforest tent sites and riverside campervan sites.
Highly recommended Milford Sound tourist attractions include…
Milford Deep Underwater Observatory – Enter this unique structure to view the rich marine ecosystem of Milford Sound. Situated in the middle of the Piopiotahi Marine Reserve, visitors can view precious black and brilliantly coloured corals, fish, tube worms, shellfish and underwater fauna.
Scenic Boat Cruise – There are several experienced and respected companies operating in Milford Sound and all offer a breath-taking journey into the untouched beauty of the Milford Sound. Plenty of opportunities to view marine and bird life.
Rosco’s Milford Kayaks – Milford Sound’s original sea kayaking company gives visitors the chance to experience the magnificence Milford Sound at sea level! Leave the crowds behind and explore the fiord, getting up close and personal with a variety of wildlife including fur seals, Fiordland crested penguins and dolphins.
Diving – Tawaki Dive is a Qualmark endorsed visitor activity and offers guided dives in Milford’s unique marine environment.
Milford Track – Considered one of the finest walks in the world, trampers can choose to undertake a guided walk or go it alone. The track normally takes 4 days to complete and there are accommodation huts located along the track.
Guided Nature Walks – Take a hike with an experienced tramping guide and explore the stunning natural beauty that is Milford Sound.
New Zealand Itineraries: South Island Suggested Itineraries
Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!
- 5 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Franz Josef – Wanaka, Wanaka – Mt Cook and Mt Cook – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – St Arnuad, St Arnuad – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Queenstown, Queenstown – Dunedin, Dunedin – Oamaru and Oamaru – Christchurch
- 7 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercargill, Invercargill – Stewart Island, Stewart Island – Te-anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown and Queenstown – Christchurch
- 8 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Fox Glacier – Wanaka, Wanaka – Queenstown, Queenstown – Te Anau, Te Anau – Dunedin and Dunedin – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercragill, Invercargill – Te Anau, Te Anau Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Lake Tekapo and Lake Tekapo – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Omarama, Omarama – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Haast, Haast – Greymouth and Greymouth – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Takaka, Takaka – Motueka, Motueka – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 11 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Milford Sound – Queenstown, Queenstown – Wanaka, Wanaka – Franz Josef, Franz Josef – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch