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Milford Sound

Welcome to Milford Sound – a fiord of unparalleled natural beauty and consistently ranked New Zealand’s 1# attraction. Milford Sound is a fiord located deep in the World Heritage listed and utterly stunning Fiordland National Park. Located in the South Island’s wild south-west, Milford Sound lies roughly 290km from Queenstown (about a three and a half hour drive) and 760km from Christchurch (nearly a nine hour drive). Milford Sound is certainly one of New Zealand’s finest crowning jewels and a dazzling experience waiting for you that you will never forget. more

Thousands of visitors visit Milford Sound every day making the fiord one of New Zealand's most visited and most famous tourist attractions. Almost every Milford Sound visitor takes a boat tour to view the amazing scenery and wildlife (fur seals, the endemic Fiordland Penguin, the worlds southernmost population of bottlenose dolphins, many native birds and even the occasional whale – mostly humpback and southern right whales). The fiord is surrounded by lush rainforest and sheer rock faces – including the iconic Mitre Peak (featuring on many Milford Sound postcards), The Elephant (said to resemble the head of an elephant) and The Lion (said to resemble a crouching lion). Milford Sound has two spectacular permanent waterfalls, the Lady Bowen (a 10 minute walk from Milford village) and Stirling Falls. After heavy rain (Milford Sound is the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand) hundreds of temporary waterfalls are created.

Being the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand, Milford Sound receives an incredibly high level of rainfall (with an astonishing 6.5 metres (21ft) falling annually). Come on a dry sunny day and see the fiord lit up before you with unimpeded views of the towering, steep mountain ranges arising abruptly out of the waters. Come on a rainy day and see this moody fiord come alive with hundreds of cascading waterfalls gushing headlong into the fiord all around you. Either way you with be greeted with such dramatic sights you will have to consult a dictionary for new superlatives to describe it.

Choose from a range of transport options to explore this magnificent fiord (the only New Zealand fiord easily accessed by road) – these primarily include; by bus (the most popular method is buses from either Te Anua or Queenstown), by airplane (there are small scenic flights into the into the small airport from Queenstown), by car or even by foot if you hike the world famous Milford Track. If you drive or bus there don’t nap through the drive – the road to Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful alpine drives in the world beset by endless eye-popping views.

Milford Sound owes its existence to the ice ages. During the ice ages, mighty glaciers wound, carved and grinded their way from the mountains chiselling away at the mountain slopes and creating great U-shaped valleys. Over time the planet warmed and the glaciers melted, the sea then flooded in to create what is known as a “fiord” (a flooded glacial valley). The effect of glacial carvings are evident today in the steepness of mountainsides plummeting vertically into the sea, leaving Milford Sound virtually enclosed with a halo of vertical cliff faces.

As the water is very well sheltered in the fiords, the fresh water pouring into the fiord from the towering mountains doesn’t mix with the salt water – instead creating a layer of fresh water sitting on the salt water. This layer of fresh water on salt water gives rise to a distinctive eco system and changes the colour of the sound as it is stained with tannins from the decaying leaves to become a strong tea colour.

The discovery of the 1,140 metre high Mackinnon Pass in 1888 helped open up Milford Sound’s natural beauty to visitors and today this is the passage of the magnificent and world famous Milford Track. The Milford Track is famously dubbed "the finest walk in the world" one of New Zealand’s “great walks”. The exit from the Homer Tunnel is a truly awesome sight to behold – a commanding glacier-cut U-shaped valley awaits at the end of the tunnel still partway up the mountain.

Unfortunately there is only limited accommodation at Milford Sound itself – so if you are looking to stay here you will need to book in advance. Most visitors stay in Te Anau (a one a half hour drive) or Queenstown (a three and a half hour drive) – both of these resort towns are nestled on large pristine lakes surrounded by towering mountains with awe-inspiring views.

Take a moment to send a Fiordland related E-Postcard to your friends.

 

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  • ACTIVE ADVENTURES NEW ZEALAND - Nationwide

    ACTIVE ADVENTURES NEW ZEALAND - Nationwide

    Mobile-friendly - We're Kiwis, and since 1996 we've looked after active people with legendary hospitality in the stunning New Zealand outdoors. If you’re into hiking, paddling and biking through parks, valleys, bays and backroads, then join us on one of our hand-crafted trips. Explore the local spots, enjoy the highest level of personal service and share plenty of laughs along the way.

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    +64 3 450 0414 or Freephone: 1800 661 9073 (USA or Canada); 0808 234 7780 (UK); 1800 661 907 (Australia)
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    Nationwide - based in Queenstown, New Zealand
  • AIR MILFORD - Queenstown

    AIR MILFORD - Queenstown

    Mobile-friendly - Air Milford proudly operates the only brand new Cessna Caravan aircraft. This aircraft offers leather seating, quiet air conditioned comfort and great viewing for all passengers. It is one of the safest aircraft flying today. Eco-tours, aircraft charters, fishing, hunting and personalised tours. Flights to Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, the Southern Alps and Glaciers.

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    +64 3 442 2351
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    0800 462 252 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    1 Tex Smith Lane, Frankton, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • AIR RANGITATA - Mid Canterbury

    AIR RANGITATA - Mid Canterbury

    Scenic flights over the South Island's spectacular Southern Alps. Our high wing Cessna seats five and provides fantastic viewing and photo opportunities. Enjoy unimpeded views as you fly through a landscape of unbelievable grandeur and beauty. Scenic routes include Mt Cook & West Coast Glaciers and the Rangitata Headwaters. Airport transfers from Christchurch to Queenstown or anywhere in between.

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    +64 3 696 3848
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    +64 27 473 2581
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    372 Rangitata Terrace Road, Ashburton, New Zealand
  • AIR SAFARIS AND SERVICES - Lake Tekapo & Franz Josef

    AIR SAFARIS AND SERVICES - Lake Tekapo & Franz Josef

    Mobile-friendly - Spectacular and unforgettable Grand Traverse scenic flights of the Mount Cook and Westland World Heritage Parks. Explore the alpine wonderland of New Zealand's highest mountains and largest glaciers on this incredible flightseeing experience. Depart hourly from Lake Tekapo, Glentanner Park and Franz Josef on modern, well equipped aircraft. All window seats.

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    +64 3 680 6880
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    0800 723 274 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    PO Box 71, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
  • ALPINE ADVENTURES - Queenstown

    ALPINE ADVENTURES - Queenstown

    Mobile-friendly - Alpine Adventures offers luxury tours with a private guide. We offer Sightseeing Tours to explore Queenstown, Glenorchy and Arrowtown, Wine Tours in Central Otago and Day Tours to experience Milford Sound, Mt Cook or Wanaka. Our privately guided Hikes & Heli Hikes will take you to spectacular locations. We love to help you create an unforgettable experience while visiting Queenstown.

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    +64 27 257 4632
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    +64 21 0293 7491
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    Queenstown, New Zealand
  • ASPIRING HELICOPTERS - Wanaka

    ASPIRING HELICOPTERS - Wanaka

    Mobile-friendly - Glacier landings, scenic flights, personalised experiences: Let us take you exploring over Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks giving you the ultimate birds-eye view and unique alpine landings only possible by helicopter. Set foot on an ancient glacier, enjoy the diverse landscape on a Milford Sound flight or simply take in the majestic mountains surrounding Wanaka. Charter flights available.

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    +64 3 443 7152
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    2211 Mt Aspiring Road, Wanaka, New Zealand
  • CHEEKY KIWI TRAVEL - Auckland and Queenstown

    CHEEKY KIWI TRAVEL - Auckland and Queenstown

    Mobile-friendly - Our small group tours throughout New Zealand offer a more flexible and fun experience to ensure our guides show you more amazing sites in between our top destinations. Our day trips from both Auckland & Queenstown take you to the most popular sites in Aotearoa including Hobbiton, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Rotorua, Milford Sound & Wanaka just to name a few.

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    +64 9 390 7380
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    +64 22 076 5058
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    Auckland and Queenstown, New Zealand
  • CRUISE & KAYAK MILFORD SOUND - Milford Sound

    CRUISE & KAYAK MILFORD SOUND - Milford Sound

    Mobile-friendly - Kayaking in Milford Sound is an extraordinary experience where the majesty of the landscape is all that more dramatic from sea level. Our Cruise & Kayak Milford Sound experience includes a Milford Sound cruise, entry to the Milford Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory and one hour of kayaking around serene Harrison Cove.

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    +64 3 441 1137
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    0800 264 536 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    St Omer Wharf, 110 Beach Street, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK - Fiordland (South Island)

    FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK - Fiordland (South Island)

    Fiordland National Park was established in 1952 and contains stunning scenery including fiords, waterfalls and snow capped mountain peaks. Mitre Peak is one of the most photographed features in the park. Old rainforests and lakes are breathtaking and several famous tracks like the Milford, Kelper and Routeburn tracks dissect the park. Don't miss it.

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  • FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK LODGE - Fiordland

    FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK LODGE - Fiordland

    Mobile-friendly - Tranquil location right beside the lake at Te Anau Downs, just 30km north of Te Anau and 91kms from Milford Sound. We are only 600m from the boat departure point for the famous Milford Track. A peaceful area in Fiordland National Park with spectacular views. Three types of accommodation: motel units, lodge or backpacker rooms - linen supplied and ensuites.

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    +64 3 249 7811
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    0800 500 805 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    2681 Milford Sound Highway, Fiordland National Park 9679, New Zealand
  • FIORDLAND OUTDOORS CO. - Te Anau, Fiordland

    FIORDLAND OUTDOORS CO. - Te Anau, Fiordland

    We show visitors Fiordland like a friend would, and connect them with what they'd like to do here for an unforgettable experience. All our carefully crafted trips and journeys explore Fiordland National Park. Most are privately guided or small groups, with every care and detail taken care of.
    Milford Track/Kepler Track/Jet Boat Fishing/Fly Fishing/Private Fiordland Journeys

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    +64 21 197 4555
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    0800 3474 538 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    cnr Oraka St & Milford Highway, Te Anau, Fiordland National Park
  • Fiordland Postcard

    Fiordland Postcard

    E-Postcards are fun to send and receive, and an ideal way to message a friend or family member. This E-Postcard features the beautiful Milford Sound in the Fiordland region of New Zealand.

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  • FIRST LIGHT TRAVEL - New Zealand Wide

    FIRST LIGHT TRAVEL - New Zealand Wide

    Mobile-friendly - An extraordinary selection of unique small group tours. Premier experiences using the most qualified people, personalities, locations and knowledge. Our trips range from guided adventure and dive tours through to educational tours with marine mammals. We are constantly striving to build greater ecological awareness of the highly sensitive and vulnerable nature of the environment.

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    +64 9 281 4481
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    Level 2, 69-71 Beach Road, Auckland, New Zealand
  • GO ORANGE - Milford & Doubtful Sounds

    GO ORANGE - Milford & Doubtful Sounds

    Mobile-friendly - Enjoy the longest, least crowded, best valued 2-hour cruise on the Milford Sound or a full-day experience on the more isolated Doubtful Sound. Take in the awesome majesty of mountains, rainforest, unique birds and sea creatures. Or glide right in amongst it in one of our kayaks alongside an experienced guide on your choice of one of 4 kayaking adventures.

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    +64 3 442 7340
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    0800 505 504 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    35 Shotover St, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • HELI GLENORCHY - Queenstown & Glenorchy

    HELI GLENORCHY - Queenstown & Glenorchy

    Mobile-friendly - Spectacular scenic helicopter flights to Milford Sound, Fiordland, and the Queenstown region. Based in Glenorchy, NZ - the real "Middle Earth", a 45 minute lakeside drive from Queenstown. For an even more exclusive skiing experience, why not try a day of heli-skiing in untouched alpine terrain. Heli Glenorchy offers boutique heli-skiing in the spectacular mountains surrounding Queenstown, Wanaka and Glenorchy.

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    +64 3 442 9971
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    0800 435 449 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    35 Mull St, Glenorchy, New Zealand
  • HERITAGE EXPEDITIONS ANTARCTIC WILDLIFE CRUISES - Antarctica and Sub Antarctic

    HERITAGE EXPEDITIONS ANTARCTIC WILDLIFE CRUISES - Antarctica and Sub Antarctic

    Travel to part of New Zealand rarely visited with New Zealand's pioneering wildlife adventure company, Heritage Expeditions. Established in Christchurch by biologist Rodney Russ 25 years ago, Heritage Expeditions runs expedition cruises to New Zealand's most remote and wildlife packed destinations including Fiordland, the Subantarctic Islands, and Antarctica's Ross Sea. Penguins, Sea Lions, Whales, History, Birds. Join the adventure today.

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    +64 3 365 3500
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    0800 262 8873 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    Antarctic House, 53B Montreal Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • HIKING NEW ZEALAND - Nationwide

    HIKING NEW ZEALAND - Nationwide

    Mobile-friendly - New Zealand's hiking and outdoor adventure specialist! We have a passion for outdoor adventure, the road less travelled and sharing the beauty of our untouched wilderness. We offer guided hikes and adventures throughout New Zealand. Hikes include: Tongariro, Abel Tasman, Stewart Island and Hollyford Track. Alternatively, our Kiwi-style trips are perfect for those hikers wanting to get into the backcountry.

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    +64 3 310 8188
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    0800 697 232 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand
  • JUCY CRUISE MILFORD SOUND - Milford Sound

    JUCY CRUISE MILFORD SOUND - Milford Sound

    Mobile-friendly - Join JUCY Cruise Milford Sound for the ultimate scenic experience of a lifetime. Cruise along the most impressive fiord of Fiordland National Park and see majestic mountains, sheer cliffs rising from depths beneath, seals, dolphins and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. At the end of your cruise, enjoy a free shower with some of the world's freshest water!

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    +64 3 442 4196
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    0800 500 121 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    Milford Sound Visitors Centre & Wharf, Milford Sound & 26b Shotover Street, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • JUST NEW ZEALAND WALKS - New Zealand Wide

    JUST NEW ZEALAND WALKS - New Zealand Wide

    Mobile-friendly - We create independent walking holidays which include the Great Walks of New Zealand. No longer will you have to visit 3 or 4 different websites. We will plan and organize the walks for you, by pre-booking Department of Conservation huts, pre and post walk accommodation, transfers and our experienced staff will advise the best time to travel and more.

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    +64 3 450 1316
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    0508 687 836 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    57 Shotover Street, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • MILFORD HELICOPTERS - Fiordland

    MILFORD HELICOPTERS - Fiordland

    We were formed in 1988 and are the only aviation firm based at Milford Sound. Milford Helicopters undertakes all types of work including lifting, supply work, passenger transport for fishing and hunting parties, film and photography work. We are experienced pilots operating in a marvellous environment. Join us to experience the wonder of Milford Sound and surrounding Fiordland.

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    +64 3 249 8384
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    RD 2, Te Anau, Milford, New Zealand
  • MILFORD SOUND BBQ BUS - Queenstown

    MILFORD SOUND BBQ BUS - Queenstown

    Mobile-friendly - Great value, small group, relaxed, personal tour to Milford Sound, one of the most scenic destinations in New Zealand. Delicious 'kiwi-style' bbq lunch. Access to many areas for sightseeing and photo stops that bigger buses just can’t get to. Travel from Queenstown or Te Anau and enjoy our unique interactive tour. Special Combo Deal for Milford Sound and Queenstown Tour.

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    +64 3 442 1045
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    0800 421 045 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    Queenstown, New Zealand
  • MILFORD SOUND CRUISES - Milford Sound

    MILFORD SOUND CRUISES - Milford Sound

    Mobile-friendly - Discover spectacular Milford Sound on a sightseeing day cruise with Southern Discoveries. With cruises to suit every interest and timeframe, the Milford Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory and kayaking tours, Southern Discoveries can deliver the entire Milford Sound experience.

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    +64 3 441 1137
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    0800 264 536 (Free call - only within NZ)
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    St Omer Wharf, 110 Beach Street, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • MILFORD SOUND DISCOVERY TOUR - Queenstown

    MILFORD SOUND DISCOVERY TOUR - Queenstown

    Mobile-friendly - Personalised small group or Private Discovery Tour to the Fiordland wilderness. Experience glaciers, rainforests, waterfalls and wildlife. Highlights and stops include the Mirror Lakes boardwalk, Knobs Flat, The Divide, Hollyford Valley lookout, The Chasm & the Homer Tunnel. At Milford Sound we take a 1.45 hour Scenic Cruise on the fiord with a less crowded small boat personal tour.

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    +64 3 442 2299
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    +64 27 472 7972
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    PO Box 2046, Queenstown, New Zealand
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