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It's easy to see why Milford Sound is one of New Zealand's top tourist attractions. On a typically calm day the still waters here reflect a majestic wilderness of sky scraping peaks, bush clad slopes and hanging valleys that soar atop vertical, ice gauged walls of rock. The tempestuous weather reveals the changeable moods of the Sound and the dramatic landscape clearly illustrates the infinite forces of nature that have shaped this rugged, beautiful place.
Admire the sights along one of the country’s most scenic roads from the comfort of a coach before cruising Milford Sound’s pristine waters. To save time and to top the day’s experiences off beautifully, return to Queenstown by air on a scenic flight where you’ll be able to appreciate a totally different perspective of the immense natural wonderland below.
Soak up Milford Road by coach
The moment you embark along the Milford Road towards the Sound itself, it becomes clear that you are in for something truly special. Winding through a landscape that’s constantly changing, numerous photo opportunities along the road include lakes, rivers, tussock, snowy peaks and valleys cloaked in rainforest. Appreciate the glacier-carved grandeur of the Eglinton Valley, once filled entirely with ice. Look out for the stunning Mirror Lakes – in still weather; they showcase a perfect reflection of the Earl Mountains. Further on, the Homer Tunnel, 1.2 kilometres long and made from solid granite, marks the descent into Milford Sound. Take a moment to appreciate the hard work that went into the tunnel’s creation - extreme weather conditions meant that it took nearly 20 years to complete. Travelling by coach is the best way to truly appreciate the scenery along the Milford Road; you’ll be able to relax in comfort and you won’t miss a thing – numerous stops mean that you’ll be able to stretch your legs, soak up the views and take plenty of photos.
Get up close with a boat cruise
Arriving in Milford Sound itself, take a breath to soak up the soaring beauty that surrounds you before boarding a nature cruise. This deepwater haven is home to a fascinating array of wildlife and the glassy waters provide the perfect viewing platform. Hundreds of spectacular waterfalls form in heavy rain and several permanent falls grace the Sound, including the magnificent Bowen Falls that plummets 160m down to sea level. The iconic Mitre Peak rises 1692m out of the ocean and dolphins, seals and penguins play in their unspoiled, underwater environment. From aboard, you may also observe the playful and rare Fiordland Crested Penguin. It’s no wonder famous British author Rudyard Kipling described this special place as the 8th natural wonder of the world.
Spread your wings
After enjoying Milford Sound up close on a boat cruise, a scenic flight allows for a whole new vantage point. In order to understand the humbling scale of the mountains, valleys and lakes, a scenic return flight to Queenstown from Milford Sound is a must-do. The views of Fiordland, the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu from the air are unforgettably spectacular. What’s more, a scenic flight saves a long return drive – you’ll arrive back in Queenstown refreshed and inspired from the day’s adventures.
At MoaTrek, we believe the ultimate way to explore Milford Sound is by combining coach, cruise and flight. On our small group tours, guests soak up the Milford Road by coach before taking a boat cruise through Milford Sound with an onboard nature guide. Following this, they return to Queenstown via a spectacular scenic flight. Our tours vary in length and showcase the very best places and activities New Zealand has to offer. Find out more on our website, or get in touch directly.