The Milford Sound is a fiord located in a national park on the South Island of New Zealand. The fiord was carved out by ancient glaciers. Its one of the most popular sites to see when visiting Queentown. It takes about 4 hours to drive to the Sound from Queenstown.
You can either use a rental vehicle and drive yourself or use a bus tour company. We went with the latter option so that none of us would have to worry about driving or navigating. All of us wanted to enjoy a chauffeured ride during this long journey. We were picked up at our hotel bright and early in the morning by Milford Sound Select. Instead of returning back to your hotel by bus, you can upgrade to take a plane or helicopter ride back. We opted for the bus ride back. The day went quickly and did not seem as long as it was. As he drove, our driver provided many facts on the overhead speakers about New Zealand history and their unique island environment.
Another reason we opted for Milford Sound Select bus tour was so they could show us the most picturesque spots to stop at along the way. Our first pit stop was at the Mirror Lake in the town of Te Anau. The name speaks for itself. It was the clearest water reflection I have ever laid my eyes on.
The above two photos were of the lush mountains surrounding the Mirror Lake.
After another half hour of driving, we arrived at Hollyford Valley. We got out at the lookout to be surrounded by unique bird calls while we took photos of mountains and glaciers.
At our last stop before arriving at Milford Sound, we were lucky enough to see this beautiful bird. Its the world’s only alpine parrot called a Kea. Keas can live in the snow. This one was not shy at all and he got quite close to me before trying to jump onto our bus.
Once you arrive at Milford Sound, the best way to experience it is with a boat cruise. This allows you to be up close to the shear-faced mountains and glaciers. Your ticket includes an almost 2 hour cruise with a company called Real Journeys. I was here in the autumn so the day was a little cheaper at $139NZD per person (normally $169NZD).
Off we went to see the Tasman Sea!
Within a few minutes of our cruise, we were alerted to a pod of dolphins nearby.
They came quite close to our boat. It was so amazing to see them chase each other around us.
We were extremely lucky with the weather and there was not a cloud in the sky. The Milford Sound has rainforests which receives its fair share of rain each year. The weather here can change quite rapidly.
The Tasman Sea.
On our way back to the dock, we were able to get close to seals relaxing on rocks.
The last stop is getting misted by incredible glacial waterfalls.
I feel so lucky to have seen this astounding place in New Zealand. The air was the freshest I have ever inhaled. The sites were magnificent. The Milford Sound is largely known as the 8th wonder of the world. People from far and wide come to see it.
I was very happy with my experience with Milford Sound Select. Their price was very reasonable for a return bus trip with a cruise. Our day would not have been as relaxing had we decided to travel to the Sound ourselves.