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The Journey to the 8th Wonder of the World: Milford Sound

Only a few would have Milford Sound in their bucket list. But did you know that Milford Sound is considered as the 8th Wonder of the World? Also, it is actually the most visited tourist destination in New Zealand. Nope, not Hobbiton. 

When people say Milford Sound, probably only a few people would know it. Compared to the New 7 wonders of the World such as the Great Wall of China or the Taj Mahal, Milford Sound isn’t as well-known as even the likes of Santorini or the Eiffel Tower. But with it’s sheer beauty, Milford Sound is actually the most visited tourist site in all of New Zealand. Many of which choose to drive and experience the scenic journey to and from Milford Sound, making the experience an unforgettable one.

 

Location and Accessibility

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Milford Sound is located in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island. Also called Piopiotahi in Maori, Milford Sound is actually part of the Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage site, which was awarded the world’s top travel destination by Tripvisor in 2008.

 

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The Famous Mitre Peak in the background of Milford Sound

Milford Sound is actually just quite near to Queenstown, but since there are no roads that cut through the Glenorchy Mountain range, the only way to Milford Sound is driving down south and back up north towards Te Anau and into Milford Sound. The drive is around 4 hours one way, but with such a scenic drive, it’s impossible to not stop for photos along the way. So the best option would be to camp or stay the night in Te Anau (which we did) so as to not rush the drive too much and allow for ample time for photo stops and hiking along the way.

 

The Journey Begins

Most if not all people begin their journey from Queenstown. It takes roughly 2 1/2 hours to drive to Te Anau. Along the way, you’ll be driving through Highway 6, which follows the gorgeous Lake Wakatipu. There’s really just pure open space with mountains and grassland on both sides. 

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Long winding roads to Te Anau

 

Te Anau

We got to Te Anau at around 8pm, since we left Queenstown just after sunset. We decided to stay the night in Te Anau, so the next day’s drive to Milford Sound will be a short 2.5 hours only Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses instead of a full 4-5 hour journey. Te Cheap Oakleys Anau os a remote, small town in the Fiordland Region, which houses the Fiordland National Park. Surrounding it is Lake Te Anau and there are quite a number of hotels and hostels in the area to cater to the tourists going to Milford or Doubtful Sound located 21kms from Manapouri, the departure point for Doubtful Sound, and 120kms from Milford Sound. At Te Anau you will also find the departure point for trips to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves, that is accessed via a boat trip across Lake Te Anau.

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Random sheep encounters on the way to Te Anau

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Endless Valleys and Golden Grass

 

Te Anau to Milford Sound

Now this is where it gets interesting. The 2.5 hour trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound is actually assuming you won’t be stopping anywhere in the middle. But trust me, the drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is one of the most unforgettable drives you’ll be doing in your life. The 121km drive consists of many short trails and interesting sights that might be worth your time. There are no petrol stations from Te Anau to Milford so it’s best to load up on fuel just before leaving for Milford Sound. 

Some of the “Must-Sees” along this drive would be:

  • Te Anau Downs
  • Mirror Lakes, reflections of Earl Mountains, beech forest & wetlands (5 mins)
  • Knobs Flat interpretational display, geology and wildlife.
  • Lake Gunn Nature Walk easy access 
  • Homer Tunnel – Scenic Mountains: where the mountains tower over Part the road
  • The Chasm waterfall walk, waterfalls and water-sculpted rocks, (20 mins)

The return trip from Milford takes around the same time. During our trip, we went straight to Milford Sound without stopping because weather in Milford can be erratic. There is a higher chance that it is sunny during the morning hours. Best would be to catch the 9am cruise on Milford then be back before lunch to do either a kayak with any of the Milford Sound companies, and be headed back home by around 2 or 3pm. 

On the way back, we stopped by the notable places such as Mirror Lakes, Lake Gunn, and The Chasm, which were all worth it. You’ll reach Te Anau just before sunset around 6pm in time for dinner.

 

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Glorious snow-capped mountains after Hommer Tunnel

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En Route to Milford Sound

 

Milford Sound

<span cheap nfl jerseys style=”font-family: helvetica, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>Milford Sound on a good day is majestic. I’ll let pictures speak for themselves. With countless waterfalls, the Cheap nba Jerseys famous Mitre Peak, and an option to kayak, Milford Sound is one of the most exciting adventures you could do in New Zealand.

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Cruising along Milford Sound

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Mitre Peak towering over Milford Sound

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Mirror Lakes on a calm day in Milford

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Waterfalls sighting from the cruise

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Kayaking Milford Sound is a must

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Til, next time.

All photos taken using Fuji XE-2 | September, 2015

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