Why Milford Sound is Best in the Rain

With an average of 182 days of rain a year, there’s a good chance that a visit to New Zealand’s iconic Milford Sound will involve at least a short shower.

A waterfall chaser’s paradise

Rain in Milford Sound increases the already mighty permanent waterfalls and creates hundreds of temporary ones, these cascade down the cliff faces in a fury of power and beauty.

The highest, most well-known and photographed waterfall in Milford Sound is the Lady Bowen Falls, standing at an impressive 162m (531ft). Not only breathtakingly beautiful, without it Milford Sound couldn’t operate; with it being the sole source of power and water for the small village. The Lady Bowen Falls quadruples in volume during Milford’s epic storms – one of the best ways to truly enjoy the falls is to stand on the foreshore and feel the spray.

A rainforest isn’t a rainforest without the rain

There is nothing better than the smell of the forest after a heavy rainfall. Milford Sound boasts a lush temperate rainforest, and a rainforest cannot be without the rain.

Milford Sound is one of the wettest places on our planet – especially the Cleddau Valley that boasts a whopping annual rainfall of 13m (43ft)! With no buffer to the wild west winds on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island, the water laden winds hit the steep mountain sides, rise quickly and drop their payload before heading over the Southern Alps – and this is why we have such incredible rainforest's on the West Coast.

Milford Sound is a photographer’s dream

The dramatic scenery at Milford Sound has been attracting artists and photographers to the area since the 19thcentury. More recently cinematographers have taken notice too, with big screen flicks like Alien: Covenant and X-Men Origins: Wolverine being shot in this otherworldly landscape.

With the high-tech photo gear and phone camera's available today, anyone can get a great photo of Milford Sound and the iconic, and arguably most photographed peak in New Zealand, Mitre Peak (named for its resemblance to a bishop’s mitre hat). However, if you wish to capture something a little different, you can’t beat the drama of a rainy Milford Sound.

The forest comes to life after a rainfall

Scientists are still baffled as to exactly why birds are more active after rainfall, however the speculation is that insects are more vulnerable after rain while they try to dry off, making it the perfect hunting ground for insect-loving birds. There are many forest birds that come out in full force after a rain – this is a birder and hikers dream time to explore the walks around Milford Sound.


For more information on New Zealand Tours that includes the beautiful Milford Sound, check out the World Heritage Tour and our Short South Tour

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