We arrived in Te Anau late in the afternoon to embark on a day trip to Milford Sound the following morning. Taking a trip to Milford Sound requires an entire day to be set aside at minimum. It is about a two hour drive from Te Anau each way, and the road from Te Anau is the only road in. Alternatively, you could always take a helicopter, if your budget allows for it. The road is straight for the majority of the way, and reasonably well maintained. But be careful, as there are patches of moss growing on parts of the road, which may make it slippery. Also, over the winter months the road is closed, making Milford Sound inaccessible by road.
We headed out early with our thermos of hot chocolate and a few snacks. We brought along one of those old-school green Stanley thermoses and it came in very handy. There are a number of scenic stops along the road and a few short walks to break up the drive. It’s worthwhile spending the time to stop at some of these places as the scenery is stunning and it really is part of the experience in visiting Milford Sound.
We were very lucky with the weather on the day we visited, as we were told that it had rained everyday for the previous seven days. It’s quite rare to get a sunny day at Milford Sound as the area has a very high rainfall. So we were very lucky indeed.
You cannot leave Milford Sound without taking a cruise along the sound. There are a number of companies that offer cruises, which more or less offer you the same experience. We chose on the basis that the one we went with offered a fish and chips lunch included in the ticket. When cruising along the sound you see the stunning fjords and a number of waterfalls. If you’re lucky, you may also see dolphins and seals. Most cruises last for two hours, during which you can relax and enjoy the beautiful landscape.
Milford Sound is accessible by the Te Anau-Milford Highway. Make sure you fill up before you leave Te Anau, as there are no petrol stations along the way. It is about a 2 hour drive each way, without including stops.
We stayed at a wonderfull bed and breakfast called The Croft. Jane, the owner, has two self-contained cottages on her property which she rents out as a bed and breakfast. The cottages are spacious and cosy, and she offers a wonderful breakfast.