During our Queenstown trip, we squeezed in a quick day trip to Milford Sound. Milford Sound is located on the southwestern part of the South Island of New Zealand. It is a fiord which was created by glacial erosion. We had heard from many people that this was one of their favorite spots in all of New Zealand. Since we were in Queenstown and we were so “close” to Milford Sound we knew we had to make the trip.
As is often the case with road travel in New Zealand, there is no real direct route to get from Queenstown to Milford. The two towns are about an hour apart as the crow flies, but not when you have to drive. This is because of the terrain. The drive is about 4 hours, with no stops or exploring. We decided to take a Jucy bus tour from Queenstown to Milford for a few reasons. We found a deal on BookMe and determined it was cheaper for both of us to take the tour than it was in gas for us to drive our car. Plus this would give Anthony a break from driving and he could enjoy the scenery as we wound through the mountains. If we drove we would also have to pay for an AirBnB in Te Anau, which is roughly halfway between Milford Sound and Queenstown. The trip on the bus was about a 5 hour drive each way because it makes a few facilities stops, as well as at some touristy locations with amazing views.
Even though it seemed to make sense to take the Jucy tour instead of drive ourselves, we still had a few reservations. We have seen the big buses pull into towns and attractions where we have been. We didn’t want be part of the annoying group that comes and takes over a stop or be the youngest on the bus. Luckily, there was a respectful and diverse group of people from all over the world on the bus. And we weren’t the youngest (or oldest). The places we stopped were also setup to accommodate large groups on tour busses so we didn’t have to fight through crowds or worry about being the annoying group taking over a venue.
We chose to go to Milford Sound on a day where no rain was in the forecast. This isn’t the norm for this spot in New Zealand as it averages about 180 days of rainfall a year. It sprinkled at a few places on the drive into Milford but the closer we got the more the sun shined through. Milford Sound is a place that is supposed to be better to visit when it is raining because there are more waterfalls and it looks mystical. But seriously, how can anyone complain about having the sun compliant the New Zealand backdrops?
The drive to Milford Sound is awe-inspiring and helps to set the tone for the magnificent sights at the actual Sound. The mountains are so high, and so vertical they don’t seem real. It feels like you’re in a new screening of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Words won’t do justice to the magnificence of it, so hopefully the pictures will. Enjoy!