You know when you’re dying to get to your destination and the journey there feels like it takes forever? You don’t have to worry about that when travelling to Milford Sound. There’s none of the “Are we there yet?” ringing in your mind as you eagerly wait to arrive. Why? Because the whole journey is wonderful with one long winding road through epic glacially-formed valleys. It’s filled with glimmering lakes, thick rainforest and towering snow-capped peaks wherever you look.
Milford Sound is tucked away in a remote part of New Zealand’s South Island. There’s only one road in and out of the Milford Sound, and the easiest ways to get there are either by bus, in a private car or using a campervan. It’s also possible to fly into Milford Sound but it’s not cheap. The best way to get to Milford Sound depends on your budget, how much time you have to play with and the type of experience you’re seeking.
Once you’re here, getting around either involves hiking, driving or taking a boat cruise.
If you’re driving, the most popular jumping-off points are the towns of Te Anau or Queenstown. Allow around 2.5 hours to drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound, and about 5 hours from Queenstown. You should factor in extra time if the weather is particularly wet or if you’d like to stop and take photos along the way (which is a given when you’re driving of the world’s most scenic routes!).
It’s important to plan your journey if you decide to self-drive. There are no shops or service stations between Te Anau and Milford Sound so make sure you’ve filled up your petrol tank and have enough food and drink supplies before you hit the road. The weather is known to be precarious so it’s important to keep up to date with the weather forecast and road conditions report.
By bus or coach
A cost-effective option is to jump on a bus or coach. The plus side is that you’ll be able to sit back and take in all of the gorgeous scenery instead of focusing on driving. There are many private coach companies that go to Milford Sound. You can also use the public bus service operated by InterCity. Buses depart for Milford Sound in the morning from Queenstown and Te Anau, and return journeys depart Milford Sound in the afternoon.
You can fly into Milford Sound on a private helicopter or small aircraft, but it’s definitely on the pricier side. Most flights depart from Queenstown but there are several other departure destinations dotted around the South Island. It might not be the cheapest option, but you can only imagine the views of the Fiordland and majestic peaks from the sky. A ‘scenic flight’ doesn’t do the views justice – it’s more like a ‘jawdroppingly beautiful’ flight.
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