Before going on my first trip to New Zealand, everyone told me that I had to visit Milford Sound. I must be honest, I didn’t know much about Milford Sound before planning my New Zealand adventure, so I went to Google when enough people had mentioned this place to me. I was instantly blown away by all the amazing photos and was convinced that I had to go there and see it for myself. Luckily my two travel companions were eager to go as well, and in early December last year, we went to Milford Sound.
We took a day trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound with Mitre Peak and went on one of those foggy, rainy days. Apparently, that weather type is quite common around there, as it’s one of the wettest places on earth with an average of 189 rainy days per year!
Honestly, we were a bit disappointed at the bad weather, as it had been warm and sunny for two weeks in a row before we got there. But you can’t predict the weather, and it turned out to be the most incredible experience anyway.
The scenic drive to Milford Sound
The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound is long and starts very early in the morning. At around 7 am, a futuristic-looking bus that according to our bus driver was the company’s best vehicle came to our meeting point and picked us up. And then we were on our way to Milford Sound stacked up with snacks and prepared for the five-hour-long journey.
Even though the drive is long, it doesn’t feel long at all. The drive itself is an experience, as you pass all these amazing New Zealand sceneries. And it literally starts the moment you leave Queenstown where you drive on a narrow mountain road with the enormous Lake Wakatipu on one side and a huge mountain range on the other – it’s just stunning. Later, the bus drives through beautiful hilly landscapes, small villages and enormous sheep farms before you enter the Fiordland National Park where Milford Sound is the main attraction.
In Fiordland National Park, we did a few scenic stops before departing at the Milford Wharf. I found especially Eglington Valley incredible – low clouds covered the mountains that surround Eglington Valley and created an almost surreal landscape. This particular view was the first sign I got that the bad weather wouldn’t ruin our day – however, unfortunately, the bad weather did ruin the views of our next scenic spots, Mirror Lakes and Monkey Creek that reportedly should be as amazing as Eglington Valley.
Cruising Milford Sound
After five hours of driving, we stopped at the Milford Wharf and were instantly met by the crisp air and the characteristic smell of the sea that you can only experience when you’re near the ocean. Despite being a little tired from the long bus ride, we were eager to start the most exciting part of the day; the cruise. And the tiredness quickly disappeared when we went on board the boat and started the adventure.
The scenery at Milford Sound is spectacular regardless of the weather. I can only imagine the many incredible views on a clear day but on a rainy day, you will experience that every mountain and every cliff is covered with waterfalls – and that is a pretty amazing view! In fact, our captain told us that he preferred the fjord under these conditions, and even though I haven’t seen Milford Sound on a clear day, I think I agree with him. It was spectacular!
The cruise lasted for two hours and during those two hours, you see a lot. My highlights were experiencing Stirling Falls that was what captivated me the most when I googled Milford Sound during the planning and seeing all the fur seals lie on the rocks and play in the water. But honestly, every minute of those two hours was breathtaking and there weren’t many moments where I wasn’t busy taking photos.
After two hours we were back at the wharf. We disembarked the boat, went straight to the bus and drove all the way back to Queenstown high on life and great views!
Even though I didn’t know much about Milford Sound before going to New Zealand, this place became one of the highlights of my trip. I’m completely sure it won’t be the last time I explore the beauty of Milford Sound, and I hope it can be on a clear day next time so that I can see the difference and figure out if I agree with our captain.
As mentioned, we had booked our trip with Mitre Peak that was great and highly recommendable!
Read more posts from New Zealand here.