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February 5, 2024

How to Plan a Day Trip to Milford Sound from Te Anau


Embarking on a journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound is a breathtaking experience that unveils the raw beauty of New Zealand's Fiordland region. As you traverse this scenic route, you'll be captivated by the majestic landscapes, pristine lakes, and rugged mountains that define this remote part of the world. In this article, we'll delve into the wonders of this journey, highlighting the must-see attractions and offering practical tips for making the most of your adventure.

Te Anau: Gateway to Fiordland

Nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau, the town of Te Anau serves as the gateway to Fiordland National Park and the starting point for your journey to Milford Sound. Before setting off, take some time to explore this charming town and its surrounding natural wonders.

Te Anau Glowworm Caves

Begin your adventure with a visit to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, a mesmerizing underground network of limestone caverns illuminated by thousands of tiny glowworms. Embark on a guided tour through these magical caves, learning about the unique ecosystem that supports these bioluminescent creatures.

Lake Te Anau

After exploring the caves, take a stroll along the shores of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island of New Zealand. Admire the crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain backdrop as you soak in the serene atmosphere of this pristine wilderness.

The Journey to Milford Sound

Leaving Te Anau behind, you'll embark on a scenic drive along the Milford Road, renowned as one of the most beautiful journeys in the world. This iconic route traverses rugged terrain, ancient rainforests, and dramatic mountain passes, offering breathtaking vistas at every turn.

Eglinton Valley

As you journey towards Milford Sound, be sure to stop at the Eglinton Valley, a vast expanse of grassy plains surrounded by towering peaks. Take a moment to appreciate the sheer scale of this natural amphitheater and capture photos of its awe-inspiring beauty.

Mirror Lakes

Further along the Milford Road, you'll encounter the Mirror Lakes, where tranquil waters reflect the surrounding mountains with stunning clarity on calm days. Take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalks that meander through this picturesque landscape, keeping an eye out for native birdlife and enjoying the peaceful ambiance.

Arriving at Milford Sound

After a scenic drive filled with natural wonders, you'll finally arrive at Milford Sound, often referred to as the "eighth wonder of the world." This iconic fjord is renowned for its towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and pristine wilderness, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Cruise on Milford Sound

The best way to experience the beauty of Milford Sound is by taking a scenic cruise along its tranquil waters. Board a boat and set sail beneath towering cliffs adorned with cascading waterfalls, keeping an eye out for wildlife such as seals, dolphins, and penguins that call this fjord home.

Kayaking Adventure

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, kayaking on Milford Sound offers a unique perspective of its dramatic landscapes. Paddle through crystal-clear waters, exploring hidden coves and marveling at the sheer scale of the surrounding mountains from a different vantage point.

Practical Tips for Your Journey

Weather Considerations

The weather in Fiordland National Park can be unpredictable, with rain and mist common throughout the year. Be sure to dress in layers and pack waterproof clothing to stay comfortable during your journey.

Driving Safety

The road to Milford Sound is a winding mountain pass with steep cliffs and narrow sections. Take your time and drive cautiously, allowing plenty of time to reach your destination and stopping regularly to admire the scenery.

Booking in Advance

Popular activities such as cruises and guided tours in Milford Sound can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist season. It's recommended to book your activities in advance to secure your spot and avoid disappointment.


Embarking on a journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound is an unforgettable experience that showcases the natural beauty of New Zealand's Fiordland region. From the serene shores of Lake Te Anau to the dramatic landscapes of milford sound from te anau, every step of this journey is filled with awe-inspiring vistas and unique adventures. Whether you're cruising along the fjords or kayaking beneath cascading waterfalls, this iconic route offers a glimpse into the untamed wilderness of one of the world's most spectacular destinations. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime from Te Anau to Milford Sound.