The journey to Milford Sound is as spectacular as the destination and we were spoiled with the stunning mountain backdrops and the scenic stops on the two hour drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound.
A single road slices through the wilderness and the incredible views took our breath away as we sang our way through the long journey (nothing new there!) and photographed our favourite stops en route. For more on our trip to Milford Sound check out our cruise fun here!
Our first stop was Mirror Lakes which are famous for their picture perfect reflections of the Earl Mountains on a calm day. Luckily for us the weather was absolutely beautiful and the reflection of the mountains was perfect in the calm water.
Reflections on Mirror Lakes:
The beautiful Knobs Flat is a short drive from Mirror Lakes and we loved the spectacular snow capped mountains on the horizon. David developed a slight (read: huge!) obsession with snow capped mountains during our time in New Zealand and spent approximately 10 hours enjoying this view. I, on the other hand, became the target of one million human loving insects and had to take refuge in the camper van!
The stunning meadow:
According to Maori legend the sandflies were sent to Milford Sound to prevent visitors from hanging around for too long. Milford Sound was just too beautiful to hurry us up so we ended up with a million bites instead!
Insects. Everywhere. I’ll just wait in the van!
After taking in the gorgeous scenery we entered the darkness of the Homer Tunnel which marks the beginning of the descent into Milford Sound. It took over 20 years to complete the tunnel which cuts through the rock and it’s a fun ride under the Southern Alps.
Approaching the tunnel:
It’s a beautiful and serene walk through the dense rain forest listening to the powerful waterfalls from the Cleddau River as it cascades through the rock. One of the locals at Milford Sound had promised us that we would find a secluded plunge pool on the hike back down and we were eager to check it out and take a swim. We spotted the unmarked path near the end of the trail and found a little piece of paradise!
The Car Eating Kea Bird!
We’d heard rumblings about a car eating mountain parrot that often makes appearances on the road to Milford Sound but the idea sounded so ludicrous we thought it must be an old wives tale! Then we stepped out of our van and spotted the menacing bird in full on plastic eating action, the victim being an unsuspecting campervan. The proof is in the picture and we were slightly traumatised by their presence!
Don’t mind me, I’m just destroying your campervan!
The Scenery on the Road to Milford Sound!
The rest of the route was spectacular and we lapped up the scenery as we sang our way through the two hour drive to Milford Sound. Snow capped mountains, river views and gorgeous waterfalls were in abundance on the route and the views were spectacular in every direction. What a journey!
The gorgeous backdrop!
We arrived in Milford Sound and explored the stunning fiord with an afternoon kayak trip followed by a cruise the next morning (check out the cruise pics here!). Luckily for us, Milford was just as beautiful as the journey to it and we had an amazing night in the spectacular Fiordland.
The road to Milford Sound:
Tips for driving to Milford Sound
- There’s no cellphone coverage on the road to Milford Sound.
- Fill up your tank before you leave Te Anau as there are no fuel stops between Te Anau and Milford Sound and it’s a long journey!
- Bring insect repellent (lots of it) and bite cream and cover up! If you haven’t heard of sandflies they’ll be sure to introduce themselves in this corner of New Zealand!
- If you’re aiming for a particular cruise departure remember to leave lots of time for the drive. The Homer Tunnel is one way during busy periods and the traffic lights can take at least 15 minutes.