Milford Road, New Zealand
Located in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island you will find one of the country’s most famous and scenic gems – Milford Sound. It is situated within the borders or the Fiordland National Park, the Milford Sound Marine Reserve and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site. Along with its scenic and historic value, the Milford Road, New Zealand leading to the Sound is just as famous for its unequalled beauty and tranquillity. Starting in Te Anau, you will travel along Highway 94 for almost 120km. This drive can be completed within about 2 hours but why rush? While on holiday in this area, make the most of your trip by stopping off and enjoying the sights and sounds of the nature that surrounds you. For that added sense of freedom and comfort while travelling, an RV, campervan or motorhome will really pay off. There are RV parks in the Te Anau area and, if you set out in the early morning to visit Milford Sound, you will have more than enough time to make it there and back with plenty of stops in between.
What to see along Milford Road
Before you leave for Milford Sound, make sure that you take some time to enjoy and explore Te Anau. Te Anau makes a great base from which you can set out and explore other parts of this area too. It would be best to spend the night here and set out early the next morning to make the most of all the sights along Milford Road.
This scenic drive will take you through the heart of the Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area. As you drive, your first notable sight will be the breathtaking Eglinton Valley. Once upon a time this area was filled with glacier ice!
As you continue you will reach the famous Mirror Lakes. If you are lucky enough to visit on a still and quiet day, the water will remain still and display the perfect reflection of the Earl Mountains that dominate this area.
The Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain is the next sight, or rather experience, you will encounter. This is a really strange optical illusion that makes the mountain in front of you appear to be growing smaller and further away instead of closer as you approach.
If you want to park, stretch your legs and prepare a meal in your RV, you can stop at Lake Gunn. There is an easy walk (about 45 minutes) that takes you on a scenic loop and will end right where it starts.
The Homer Tunnel, which is 1270 meters in length, is the second-longest road tunnel in the country and when you reach it you know that you’ve almost reached your destination. If you would like to take on another walk before reaching the Sound, or on your way back for that matter, you can visit The Chasm. The starting point for this walk is halfway between Milford Sound and the Homer Tunnel. The walk features two bridges over the Cleddau River and a number of beautiful waterfalls along the way.
Once you arrive at Milford, you can take a cruise on beautiful Milford Sound, beneath Mitre Peak which rises sheer from the waters below. Options for cruises at Milford Sound include scenic cruises, nature cruises and in summer, overnight cruises. For the adventurous there is also sea kayaking guided day tours available on Milford Sound.
This road does twist and turn but it is not a difficult drive at all. Some parts of the road are relatively flat and, since there are a number of areas to stop, you can take a break when you feel the need.
Milford Road can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a longer road trip. If you are strapped for time (or on a tight budget), you can comfortably explore Te Anau and the Sound over a long