A day in the picturesque Milford Sound

Did you know that Milford Sound is the WETTEST spot in New Zealand and actually also happens to be one of the wettest in the world? So why would you want to visit? This post will give you plenty of reasons why you should make a special trip to visit, despite the weather!

Where is Milford Sound

Located on New Zealand’s south island, you will find Milford Sound in the southwest of the island.

Getting to Milford Sound

As part of our Wild Kiwi tour, we chose to do a day trip from Queenstown. It is around a 5-hour drive but don’t let that deter you! The drive to Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful ones you will do on the south island.

Our driving itinerary to and from Milford Sound was beautiful and consisted of a couple of stops. Shortly into our drive, we had to make an emergency stop on the side of the road. It was an absolute emergency… how could you not stop and take a snap of this!

Back on the road and after 1.5 hours of driving, we stopped at Mossburn Cafe and Diner for a coffee break and then again at Knobs Flat for a quick toilet stop. There was a cool layer of fog around during our drive, it made for a pretty outlook!

We also stopped off at this gorgeous lookout off Te Anau Highway. The views were beautiful!

It was then straight on to Milford Sound so we didn’t miss our 11 am departure for our cruise.

Keep reading further below for details on the cruise.

After our cruise, we started our journey back to Queenstown. We had to wait 5 minutes at the tunnel before being able to proceed on our journey so I decided to grab some photos and found some local NZ Kea which is the world’s only alpine parrot! They are cute… and I’m not a bird person. They are also not shy, coming up to people, we have also been told they are super sneaky as well by moving witches hats for workers and other bits and pieces!

We stopped in at Te Anau, then continued along and stopping for photos of mountains, mountains and more mountains.

This is one of the most photographed spots in NZ. I can see why – it’s so pretty!

Another really cool stop along the way is The Chasm (pronounced Casam). It’s only a 20-minute circuit but the waterways and walk is really pretty!

You can’t really get enough, can you? We stopped for another quick toilet break and another stop at yet another gorgeous lake!

Most of you would be familiar with Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown. Well, the lake is actually really really big…  80km long in fact! So we stopped at this gorgeous spot to get a different view of the lake before getting back into Queenstown for dinner at World Bar with our tour group.

A bit about Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a fiord (yes, the kiwi’s spell it fiord and not fjord!) and is the only fiord in New Zealand that is accessible by road. It runs 15km inland from the Tasman Sea and it’s surrounded by sheer rock faces… in fact, they can rise up to 1.2km high on either side.

It is home to many waterfalls, fur seals colonies, penguins and even dolphins. You’re pretty much guaranteed to see waterfalls (remember, this is the wettest place!) but we were also lucky enough to see some adorable fur seals!

Milford Sound is home to two permanent waterfalls and if you’re on a boat tour, you’ll get the opportunity to get up close and personal. The waterfalls have been named Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls, but more about these below.

Weather at Milford Sound

As I mentioned earlier, Milford Sound is the wettest place in NZ and also the world. It is quite insane and I didn’t quite realise this until we were on our boat cruise and one of the staff told us. On average, it rains around 200 days per year and the annual rainfall is around 7000mm. On any given day, rainfall can reach 250mm!!

But, don’t let the weather stop you from visiting. Our Wild Kiwi guide and everyone else who has visited in the rain says it is just as beautiful. You may not get blue skies or ‘pretty’ photos BUT you will be able to see thousands of additional waterfalls that are formed from the rainfall. The waterfalls coupled with the ink-dark waters make it incredible spectacular, rain or shine!

Milford Sound Waterfalls

Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls are the two permanent waterfalls in Milford Sound and both absolutely beautiful. One, however, is far more impressive than the other. That is, of course, Stirling Falls. Make sure you get up the front of your boat and have your rain jacket on and be prepared to get wet! Your boat will cruise slowly right up to the waterfall and the force of the water is magnificent.

The wind was so strong it felt like a cyclone. It was a highlight of the cruise for us!

Check out this short video which includes us heading under Stirling Falls.

The cruise

We did a 2-hour lunch cruise and cost around $80 NZD per person. The boat was pretty busy but we found it alright getting a good spot to enjoy the views.  Our ticket included a buffet lunch and reserved tables so we didn’t have to worry about finding a spot to sit down! The food was alright, nothing to write home about, but I’m not sure you can expect much more – it is a massive tourist attraction after all!

Other things to do at Milford Sound

Depending on your timeline, you may have time to stop in at the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory. Kayaking is also available! However, we didn’t take part in these as we were heading back to Queenstown.

Things to do in New Zealand

If you’re spending some time throughout New Zealand, click here to look at all of our NZ posts. If you’re looking at a tour around the South Island and you’re between 18 – 35 then we would absolutely recommend Wild Kiwi Tours. A full detailed post is coming soon so watch this space!

Photos of Milford Sound

Here are a few more photos of our Milford Sound day trip.

Want more info on NZ?

If you’re travelling throughout NZ, click here to view all of our NZ posts.

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury



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