The Milford Road

You are here

The road journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound is one of the most scenic experiences you can have on four wheels.

This road is much more than a way to get to Milford Sound; it's an unforgettable journey into the heart of Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.

Driving in New Zealand

Important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

Some of Fiordland's most striking and significant features are revealed along this route, so be sure to allow enough time to stop for photo opportunities and walks. In fact, with so much to see over the 4-hour drive, you should consider leaving your car and taking one of the many coaches that transport visitors in and out every day - this way you can relax and take in all the sights.

The first major highlight is the Eglinton Valley, which was once filled with glacier ice. The valley has steep rock sides and a flat, golden tussock floor - it's a surreal place. Further along the road are the Mirror Lakes - on a still day they display a perfect reflection of the Earl Mountains. Then you'll come to the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain, where an optical illusion causes the approaching mountain to get smaller rather than larger. When you reach Lake Gunn, stretch your legs on the nature walk - an easy 45 minute loop track.

The Homer Tunnel signals your descent to Milford Sound. This tunnel, which is hewed from solid granite, took nearly 20 years to complete. From mouth to mouth it measures 1270 metres. Before you reach Milford, get some fresh air on the 20 minute walk that leads to The Chasm - a spectacular waterfall where the Cleddau River has scoured its way through solid rock.

This is a busy, winding road and takes much longer to drive than the distance suggests. If you do decide to drive yourself, you will need to take extra care and ensure that you are familiar with driving in New Zealand. Driving here is different to other countries. During winter, drivers must carry chains and be prepared for delays and road closures - read our tips for driving in winter if you're planning to drive in New Zealand between May and September. 

If you are an inexperienced driver, or are unfamiliar with find New Zealand’s road conditions, your trip will be much more enjoyable if you let someone else do the driving. Buses run regularly from Te Anau or Queenstown

Find & book flights