A Local’s Guide to the Ultimate Milford Sound Itinerary

28 Oct 2015

A World heritage destination to rival the world’s best, it pays to plan your Milford Sound itinerary carefully. With a little local input, it’s easy to enjoy this place at its most magical.

I’m Kate Norris, and Milford Sound has been my backyard since moving to the Fiordland region over 16 years ago. In this time I’ve worked both on the fiord and in the Arthur Valley on the Milford Track – so I’m pretty familiar with the place! And I know a thing or two about enjoying Milford Sound in the very best way possible. Below, I’ve put together two options for the ‘Ultimate Milford Sound Itinerary’ – a two-day and a single day option.

Milford Sound Itinerary One – Two Days to Explore Milford Sound?

This is the perfect amount of time to really soak up the journey, miss the crowds and enjoy a more authentic and personal Milford experience.

11am – Journey along the Milford Road, departing from Te Anau. This drive is nothing short of spectacular. Sheer cliffs, the glacier-carved Eglinton Valley, the Mirror Lakes and the famous Homer Tunnel – keep your camera handy! Make plenty of stops for photos and stretch your legs with some short walks en route.

3pm – Hop on an afternoon boat cruise as soon as you arrive in Milford Sound. By this time there won’t be so many people around – you’ll love soaking up the grandeur of the sound with less people.

5pm – Stay the night at Milford Sound Lodge, the only accommodation in Milford Sound itself. This promises to be one of the most special nights of your whole holiday in New Zealand! The wildlife and scenery is top-notch.

Next Day

8am – Put on your walking shoes, check out of your accommodation and spend the morning exploring what’s been called the ‘finest walk in the world’ – the Milford Track. Suitable for all fitness levels, you’ll love the lush forests, native birdlife and thundering Giant’s Gate Falls.

1.15pm – Arrive in Milford Sound after your morning walk on the track. Set out for a leisurely drive back along the Milford Road and journey on to your next destination.

Milford Sound is a New Zealand "must do", join our Milford Coach Cruise + Walk for the best small group experience.

Milford Sound Guided walks with Trips & Tramps van

Milford Sound Itinerary Two – A Single Day to Explore Milford Sound?

If your holiday schedule allows only one day to visit Milford Sound, let somebody else do the driving. This way, you can relax and properly soak up all of the scenery en route. A one-day Milford Sound Coach, Cruise and Walk package with a friendly kiwi guide ensures you’ll get to see and enjoy so much more, getting off the beaten track in a small group.

8am – Journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound via coach, travelling the Milford Road.

10.30am – Arrive, and enjoy a 2.5 hours of boat cruising around the whole fiord. There’s plenty of time to get up close and personal to the waterfalls and marine wildlife.

1pm – Leave Milford for an overland tour of the surrounding area. You have the choice of a series of short, guided walks with a local nature guide, or a 2.5-hour hike on the famous Routeburn Track up to stunning Key Summit (unguided).

Around 5.30pm – Arrive back in Te Anau

Milford sound guided walk trees

Milford Sound Guided Walk in the forest

Craft the ultimate Milford Sound experience with Trips & Tramps

We’re pretty passionate about out awesome backyard, and we know Milford Sound like nobody else. We offer two Milford Sound experiences that are seriously unforgettable – our Milford Track Guided Walk, which is the perfect fit in the second morning of the 2-day itinerary, and our Milford Sound Coach, Cruise & Walk package, which encompasses the whole day of the single-day itinerary.

Get in touch for a friendly chat, and let us help you bring the ultimate Milford Sound experience to life – you’ll never forget it!


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