At the heart of the Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most iconic natural wonders, a testament to the power of nature.
Stretching 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) inland from the rugged southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island is Milford Sound, a fiord formed by millennia of glacial erosion. Surrounded by soaring mountain peaks and dense rainforest, Milford Sound is considered one of the country’s star attractions, despite its remote location. Visit the sound to see cascading waterfalls and wealth of wildlife.
As the crow flies, Milford Sound seems quite close to the major tourist hub of Queenstown and its international airport; however, the mountain terrain that dominates the southwest of New Zealand means that the journey will take approximately 4 hours by car from both Queenstown and Invercargill. Soar high above the mountain peaks to see Milford Sound by helicopter or light plane for unparalleled views.
See the fiord up-close by venturing onto its placid surface aboard a chartered cruise. Boat trips can be as short as 2 hours. Spot seals, penguins, dolphins and whales as you travel. Look for the fiord’s two permanent waterfalls, Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls. As one of the wettest regions of the country, hundreds of temporary falls regularly develop here after heavy rain.
Look for the towering Mitre Peak high above the sound, a gruelling climb for experienced hikers. A number of more accessible trails follow the banks of Milford Sound through the national park. Pick up brochures from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre for a full list of walks.
Camping grounds are dotted throughout the Fiordland National Park; however, beyond this, there are few options for accommodation closer than Te Anau, some 118 kilometres (73 miles) to the south. Book accommodation in advance as few visitors to the region are willing to miss this majestic attraction.