There are no words to describe how beautiful Milford Sound is. Lonely Planet said “Why Go? Welcome to scenery that travellers dream of and cameras fail to do justice” – and they were right.
Despite that, we’ve put up two galleries on Flickr.
The first is The Road to Milford Sound with shots from the drive from Queenstown through Te Anau and up the valley to the Homer Tunnel – descending down the Cleddau Valley to the sound itself.
The second is of the trip on the boat on Milford Sound itself and some shots of the night sky taken at our camp site (whilst drunk with no tripod – so they’re remarkably clear given the circumstance) – the most stars I’ve ever seen.
Whatever you think of the photos the reality is far more beautiful. If you’re ever in New Zealand this is an absolute must see.
If you’re reading this and thinking of going here’s some travel advice – for the rest of you just look at the photos 😉
Visiting Milford Sound
We managed to nail this bit of the trip accidentally. Here’s how we did it.
If you can afford the NZ$400 per person and you have no time consider the “fly from Queenstown, do the boat trip fly back” option. You’ll miss the awe-inspiring drive in but them’s the breaks.
You can do it in a bus day trip from Queenstown. Don’t. It’s a 14 hour day and you’ll be in the 87th circle of tourist day trip hell being herded into the scenic bits with hundreds of other people (the coaches all leave and do the drive around the same time) with no time to explore for yourself.
Leave Queenstown under your own steam mid-morning. That way you’ll miss the tourist buses and be able to appreciate the drive without being crowded, stopping off at the many viewing points that make you go “wow”. The drive will take you 3-4 hours if you go straight there and more realistically 6-8 hours if you don’t.
We’d recommend staying here . We’d recommend it ‘cos it’s the only place to stay in the Sound. It’s also pretty decent – good powered camper van sites and what appeared to be decent chalets, dorm rooms, cafe and bar. BOOK IN ADVANCE ‘cos they’re the only game in town and you’re screwed if they’re full. If you’re in a camper make sure you’re topped up on fuel, water and provisions – there’s nothing to buy in Milford Sound.
Do an early or late boat trip out on the Sound the next day. If you get on a boat that leaves between 1130 and 1400 it’ll be rammed with the day trippers from Queenstown. You don’t want that.
Choose to stay the extra night or not – we did just ‘cos it’s a great place to chill out, sandflies excepted. If you get a clear night wait until it’s dark and watch the stars – there’s no light pollution for miles – they’ll be the clearest you’ll ever see.
Leave mid-morning again and you should miss the ubiquitous tourist buses on the way out. You may be going the other way but they’ll still be clogging up the bits that make you go “wow”.