A Local’s Guide to the Ultimate Milford Sound Itinerary

Carved by ancient glaciers during the ice age, no New Zealand vacation is complete without experiencing Milford Sound.

Located deep within Fiordland National Park, getting to and from Milford Sound is all part of the adventure; this is not a visit you want to rush.

I’m Kate Norris, and I've lived in the Fiordland region for over 16 years. I’m pretty familiar with Milford Sound, having worked on the fiord and in the Arthur Valley on the Milford Track. So I know how to enjoy this World Heritage destination in the best way possible. Below, I’ve put together two options for what I believe to be the ‘Ultimate Milford Sound Itinerary’. Following a little advice from a local promises to make your Milford Sound experience that much more magical.

Itinerary A – Got two days to explore Milford Sound?

Two days allows you to take your time, avoid the crowds and really soak up the journey as well as Milford Sound itself.

11am – Depart Te Anau to drive the Milford Road.  This really is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand. Home to the glacier-carved Eglinton Valley, the Mirror Lakes, sheer granite cliffs and the famous Homer Tunnel, the photo opportunities here are mind-blowing. Stop for a couple of photographs and walks to stretch your legs and soak up the scenery along the way.

3pm – Arrive in Milford Sound and do an afternoon boat cruise. By this time the crowds will have departed, and you’ll be able to appreciate Milford Sound with less people around.

5pm – Overnight at Milford Sound Lodge. Staying overnight in Milford Sound is magical; you’ll be able to enjoy the wildlife and the scenery in your own accommodation.

8am next day – Check out, and explore the ‘finest walk in the world’ with a guided day hike on the Milford Track. From ancient canopy trees to lush ferns, birdsong and the grand Giant’s Gate Falls, this part of the track is suitable for all abilities and you’ll love exploring the local flora and fauna on foot.

1.15pm – Arrive back in Milford Sound, and set out along the Milford Road for your next destination.

Itinerary B – Only one day to explore Milford Sound?

If you’re limited to the one day, let someone else do the driving so that you can enjoy the scenery and make the most of the Milford Road en route. A small group Milford Sound Coach, Cruise and Walk package with a local guide ensures you get to see so much more and explore off the beaten track.

8am – Depart Te Anau for Milford Sound in a coach, journeying along the Milford Road.

10.30am – Arrive in Milford Sound and enjoy a 2 ½ hour nature boat cruise around the whole fiord, with time to get up close and personal to the waterfalls and marine wildlife.

1pm – Depart Milford Sound on an overland tour. Choose from either a series of short walks along with your friendly knowledgeable nature guide, or 2.5hours of hiking on the famous Routeburn Track up to the alpine Key Summit (unguided).

5.30pm – Arrive back in Te Anau.

Let Trips & Tramps help you to craft the ultimate Milford Sound itinerary

We love our beautiful backyard, and we know Milford Sound like the back of our hand! We offer two Milford Sound experiences that never fail to impress – our Milford Track Guided Walk, which fits perfectly into the second morning of the 2-day itinerary, and our Milford Sound Coach, Cruise & Walk package which takes care of the whole day in Itinerary B.

Get in touch for a friendly chat – we’ll help you bring the ultimate Milford Sound itinerary to life with our local expertise.

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