- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Hiking / Trekking
- Art & Culture
- Unesco World Heritage
Milford Sound is a must see in New Zealand, known for its beautiful fjords.
I visited it twice in winter, and Milford Sound's landscapes change depending on the weather conditions. However, whether they're covered by a thin coating of snow or under the blazing sun, the valleys you take to reach the fjord are majestic, and these images remain rooted in my memories.
Before reaching the port where the cruise ships leave from, the road has a number of stops, such as "Mirror Lake," where the surrounding mountains are reflected perfectly on the water. A little farther,a stop at "Fresh Water Stream" gives you the chance to fill your bottles with pure, fresh water, while getting to know the area's wild parrots, the Kea. Pay attention to your car's gaskets, because these little beasts get pleasure out of pulling them out!
Finally, arriving in Milford Sound, before going back to the cruise I had reserved about 2 hours in the fjord, and I took advantage of a picnic to observe "Mitre Peak," very high, steep cliffs that plunge into the sea sitting in the middle of the water. On the way to the Tasman Sea, the boat trip allowed me to discover the natural waterfalls and the wildlife that lives in this maritime channel (dolphins, seals, and penguins).
If you want to explore Milford Sound, take one of the boats that run to and from the fjord and the Tasman Sea. For me, the highlight was the approach to Stirling Falls, a breathtaking cascade that drops into the sea.
The best time to go, if you want to avoid hoards of tourists, is early in the morning or at the end of the day. Even so, if the sky is clear, don't hesitate to make the trip. Weather conditions in the area can rapidly change and this is the wettest part of the country.
Hiking fans should plan to stay for a few days, to make the most of the region! Milford Sound is the arrival point of the Milford Track, an amazing trail that lasts four days and is considered to be one of the best in the world. New Zealand's Fjordland is also home to two other 'Great Walks', the Kepler and Routeburn Tracks. It's wise to book lodging in advance!
If you're short on time, there are still a number of day hikes you can do. One I recommend is going to Key Summit, where you'll find spectacular, panoramic views of the mountains. And the hike that leads to Gertrude Saddle gives an equally impressive view over the fjords. Sadly, bad weather conditions prevented me from getting there, which was a real shame!