Milford is by far the best known of all of the fiords in New Zealand and is the only one that can be accessed by road. It is approximately 16km from the head of the fiord to the open sea, which means visitors can comfortably travel the length of the fiord to open ocean and return on one of the many cruise options available in one and a half to two hours cruising time.
Milford Sounds breath taking scenery draws many tourists each day – between 550,000 and 1 million per year. New Zealands Milford Sound is one of the most visited tourist spots in the country. Almost all tourists going to the sound take one of the boat tours which usually last between 1–2 hours. There is also the option of extended overnight cruises on Milford Sound.
Milford Sound experiences a lot of rainfall each year which can create lots of temporary yet spectacular waterfalls throughout the sound, some a thousand metres high. The rainfall in the sound can be as much as 250 mm during 24 hours.
In Milford Sound you will find the remarkable Mitre Peak – standing an astounding 1,692 metres above sea level. It is certainly an impressive sight and makes for some amazing photographs.
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Milford Sound extended heli-flight.
Milford Sound is 295km from Queenstown (4 hours 15 minutes) and 121km from Te Anau (2 hours 15 minutes). The road makes for a spectacular drive through mountainous landscape before entering the Homer Tunnel which is 1.2km long, upon emerging from the tunnel beautiful canyons will be seen descending into the sound.
Explore Milford Sound
There are a few different ways to view the beauty of the Sounds; coach tours are available along with scenic flights either by light aircraft or helicopter. Coach trips into Milford Sound operate daily, departing Queenstown and connect with cruises on the Sound, this is a day of about 13 hours. We don’t recommend this usually and would highly recommend a flight connection which makes the trip a lot shorter – down to about 3 hours 40 minutes. The flight into the sounds by fixed wing gives a whole new & spectacular perspective and view. Overnight Cruises are also available on Milford Sound, allowing for a great night and 2 days on the Sound with plenty of time to view the scenery and wildlife, either from on board or by kayak.
For a premium experience, there are quite a few scenic helicopter trips available (Read article about helicopter options to Milford & Doubtful Sounds) which can also connect with a cruise on the Sound. When departing Queenstown, you can choose to land upon a glacier on the way to Milford and on the way back perhaps incorporate a stop on one of the remote west coast beaches. For those with limited time, a Milford short flight may be a great option taking just over one hour, you will still get the opportunity to capture a once in a lifetime photo.
For the ultimate Fiordland experience we recommend a 4 hr helicopter adventure through the mighty Milford Sound, Sutherland Falls, Tutukou glacier and beyond. This consistently rates as the most memorable experience for our guests. Just ask us for more details on the Fiordland helicopter trip and other heli trips available in Milford Sound.