Kayaking and Hiking Milford Sound On My New Zealand Adventure
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, vistas and the freshness of the air!
New Zealand’s South Island is covered in lush greenery. There is no smog, it’s clean and unpolluted. One third of New Zealand’s 4.5 million residents live in 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 the 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 plunging 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 Sound
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 not many places to stay in Milford, only Milford Sound Lodge, for those not walking the Milford Track with Ultimate Hikes. If you’re looking for true authentic Kiwi flavored accommodation then Milford Sound Lodge ticks all the boxes, and boasts great kiwi hospitality.
Milford – A Must See
The best people to take you exploring are Kiwis, they know all of the ins and outs of getting the most out of travelling this beautiful country.
There is so much to discover in New Zealand, and 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.
Where do I start?! New Zealand had been number one on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and it didn’t disappoint. Don’t wait another moment, if New Zealand is the dream, find a way! The ‘Manuka’ trip was beyond any expectations I could have dreamed of! Yes it was physical, but our amazing guides Claire and Jess kept me going and the accomplishment and the views were always worth it. I have memories that will last a lifetime, best money I have EVER spent. Trust me, don’t wait! Go!
June Vidrine, Active Adventures New Zealand ‘Manuka’ trip, March 2017