New Zealand has always been known for it’s beautiful landscapes, but until you’ve been there, it is truly impossible to share and describe the sounds, scents, breathtaking vistas and the rush of fresh pure New Zealand air enlivening your lungs!
New Zealand’s South Island is covered in lush bush. There is no smog, it’s so clean and unpolluted. One third of New Zealand’s 4 and a half million residents live in the North Island’s Auckland, leaving much of the South Island unpopulated. You can walk, paddle or bike for miles and not see another soul.
Milford Sound in New Zealand’s lower South Island is one of true wonders of the world. With such a wide range of activities and things to see, you can count on leaving with your fill of amazing experiences. Steep bush covered mountains and waterfalls plunge down into deep blue water. There is so much wildlife, from nesting sea birds, to pods of dolphins and orca’s, making it a great place to paddle through in a kayak.
You can also hike around Milford’s tracks and walkways, or take a bike ride around its edges through the bush.
A Few Milford Facts
Milford Sound is actually a fiord, not a ‘sound’. Geologically speaking, a “sound” is a large ocean inlet, larger than a bay, deeper than a bight and generally wider than a fiord. A fiord is a land feature cut by ancient glaciers. So if you want to get technical, Milford is really a fiord, rather than a sound, but it’s not hard to see how its discoverer, John Stokes, made that mistake when he named it.
Milford is so lush and green because it gets nearly 7 meters (over 20 feet) of rainfall every year. This means there are plenty of waterfalls and misty mountain scenes to take in, as well as clear blue sky and picturesque images to photograph (if you like capturing all your special moments on film).
New Zealand Culture
Most kiwis are super friendly, down to earth, and very proud of their culture. They love to show you around all the best spots, and give you an authentic taste of New Zealand.
There is a lot of Maori folklore and tradition still alive and well in the Kiwi way of life. From eating Kai (food) made in a Hangi (a traditional Maori earth oven), to the Taniwha, a mythical river dwelling creature that likes to be acknowledged when you pass by their favorite spot in the river.
What You’ll Need For Milford
There are ridiculous amounts of sandflies, so a decent strength insect repellent is a must! The same goes for warm waterproof clothes (just in case you get caught in a rain shower).
Milford is 4 and a quarter hours drive from Queenstown, 295km or 121 km from Te Anau (2 hours 15 minutes).
You will travel on the Milford Road through the Homer tunnel, which is wide enough for a bus and a small vehicle to pass, with traffic lights operating during summer months.
The unspoiled mountain landscapes, villages and the 1.2km tunnel emerging into rain-forest-carpeted canyons that descend to the sound, all make for an interesting journey along the way!
There are many places to stay in Milford, from quirky to luxurious. If you’re looking for true authentic Kiwi flavored accommodation, I suggest staying in smaller lodgings that still offer all the creature comforts you need, with good old kiwi hospitality.
Milford – A Must See
The best people to take you exploring are Kiwi’s, they know all of the in’s and out’s of getting the most out of traveling this beautiful country.
There is so much to discover in New Zealand, and the Milford Sound holds many of those discoveries for visitors to enjoy. Travel with a small group of adventurers, and real kiwi guides for a true taste of New Zealand and it’s friendly people.