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Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a fiord carved out by a glacier, which created a narrow inlet, lined by steep cliffs and waterfalls. Milford Sound’s natural wonder has drawn millions of tourists to take in its awe-inspiring beauty, making it New Zealand’s top tourist destination. The cliffs that rise from the motionless dark waters accompanied by cascading sparkling waterfalls are a real treat for the eyes. Wildlife sightings can include dolphins, penguins, seals, and glow worms. The bird life in the fjord comprise of takahe, bellbirds, kakapo, tui, and kea.

The fjord derives its name from Milford Haven in Wales. The famous writer Rudyard Kipling had called Milford Sound the eighth Wonder of the World. As the fjord receives rainfall throughout the year, it is ranked among the wettest places in the world.

Visitors to this fjord often take a boat ride along the water, but alternatives include bus tours, canoe or kayak rides, and an underwater observatory to view sea creatures and black coral. To experience Milford Sound in a completely different way, visitors can take a plane or helicopter ride around the area, which allows for views of the glaciers and mountains. Hiking the Milford Track is another popular method of viewing Milford Sound, but the trek takes about four days.

Accommodations and Dining

The Blue Duck Cafe and Bar is the only place in the fjord to eat and drink. There are only two accommodation options in Milford Sound. One of the two is open only for those hiking along the Milford Track. The other one is the Holiday Park but this is often fully booked, so you need to make reservations in advance.

If you have a romantic temperament, you can choose a unique accommodation option, i.e., staying on a boat. The Milford Mariner offers private cabins with ensuite bathrooms and has space to accommodate 60 passengers while the Milford Wanderer offers twin/double compartments with shared bathroom facilities for 34 passengers. Overnight cruises offer dinner, and breakfast along with accommodation.

Milford Sound Map

Facts about Milford Sound

  • Surrounded by rocks, Milford Sound has a length of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles).
  • Its highest rock, the Elephant, rises to a height of up to 1,517 meters (4,977 feet).
  • Stirling Falls and Lady Bowen Falls are two permanent waterfalls in Milford Sound.
  • Mitre Peak that overlooks Milford Sound, is 1,692 meters high.

Where is Milford Sound?

Located on New Zealand’s south island, Milford Sound is situated on the western end of the island along the Tasman Sea. Tour buses are available from Queenstown and Te Anau, and the drive from these cities take about two to three hours. The Air Fiordland offers scenic flights from Queenstown and Te Anau to let visitors enjoy panoramic views of the Milford Sound and its surrounding area.

Best time to visit Milford Sound

Milford Sound experiences rain on a frequent basis. The rainy season is actually a good time to visit the fjord because the waterfalls flow is heavier, though photography may prove more difficult. For warmer weather, December and January are the best bet, though these are popular months for tourists. March through May are also recommended for less crowded visits.

Nearby attractions: Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, Wanaka, Doubtful Sound, and Te Anau.

Famous Attractions in New Zealand

Bay of Islands, Milford Sound, Arthur’s Pass National Park, Abel Tasman National Park, Egmont National Park, Waiotapu, Fiordland National Park, Maruia Falls, Sky Tower, and International Antarctic Centre.

Also read: Places to Visit in Australia

Published On: Thursday, December 5th, 2013