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Travelling to MIlford Sound in winter may sound like a real expedition, but it is worth the journey.
Imagine snow-capped mountains, roaring streams gushing and cascading over sheer bluffs ... a photographer's paradise.
The Milford Road has been hailed by National Geographic Traveler as one of the world's 10 most "jaw-dropping, hair raising, eye filling roads to thrill and inspire".
The August- September 2013 issue, which also boasts Milford Sound on its cover, says the southwest corner of New Zealand's South Island poses the best kind of driver's dilemma.
"Wide open roads, most famously the Milford Road (aka Highway 94), beg for velocity but also demand constant rubbernecking," the feature said. "From Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu, a circuitous journey on state highways proves a worthy prelude to the glacier-carved Milford Sound.
"Like a drum roll, the final 75 miles (120km) on SH94 travel through rainforests, around the perpetually white-capped Ailsa Mountains, along the shores of Lake Te Anau, to the mirror-like, tea-coloured water of the fjord."
So do not be deterred by cold weather and winter conditions. Also consider some of the other regions in the South.
Winter time is the best time to view wildlife in the Catlins region, where you may see sea lions, yellow eyed enguins, fur seals and other marine or native bird species.
This region is famous for the rugged wild coastline, deserted beaches and wildlife. Consider a three-day option from Queenstown or Dunedin via the Catlins region overnight in the Catlins, further south to the petrified forest at Curio Bay then Te Anau overnight, returning from Milford Sound to Queenstown.
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