Milford Sound is one of the majestic New Zealand fiords and the only one that you can access by car. And I must say, even though I absolutely loved kayaking on Milford Sound, the drive to and from was even better.
We started early in the morning all the way from Queenstown, knowing that it would be quite a long drive and that it would take a hell of a lot longer than google maps suggested (it always does, but in NZ you’ll need to add around 1-2 hrs to anything that google maps suggests).
As we were driving along Highway 6 about an hour or so since we left Queenstown, we saw a big grey smoke cloud rising to the sky and wondered what it was. We soon realised that it was from an old steam train that was about to take off from Fairlight, we managed to pull in just in time to see it pull away from the station!
As we got to Te Anau we made a quick stop to first refuel the van and then ourselves with some lunch and coffee. The view by the lake in Te Anau is so beautiful, serene and calming.
The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is 240km (144 miles) and is considered as one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand and I can’t but agree. It takes you through The Fiordland National Park, with rainforest carpeted valleys, unspoiled majestic mountains and waterfalls. The drive is also not for the nervous or faint hearted type of driver, it is extremely narrow and windy at some points and you will have to drive through a 1,2 km long Homer Tunnel through The Darran Mountain Range. As you exit the tunnel the views are still stunning, but you will need to keep a close eye on the road and concentrate as it winds steeply down hill like a spaghetti road.
We stopped several times before The Homer Tunnel and each time I said to Mat: It can’t get any better than this, surely! But each corner we turned the views kept getting more and more epic. I had ‘moment’ at one point, we stopped at a viewing point and my emotions just ran high, my eyes welled up and I thought of how beautiful our world really is and how we so often just take it for granted. It was one of those high light moments from this trip that I will always remember and forever cherish.
I would say that the drive from Te Anau and Milford Sound is a must do and it might possibly be the best value ‘touristy thing’ to do in New Zealand. The petrol money is well worth it!