You hear a lot about Milford Sound — it is New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination and Rudyard Kipling called it the eighth wonder of the world (according to Wikipedia). There’a sign in the discovery center at Milford Sound that says it was voted the world’s top tourism destination.
Milford Sound is one of many Sounds in the Fjordland National Park. It was pictures of this park that originally made me set my sights on coming to NZ. My ex-husband and I saw pictures of people kayaking through it and I’d been dreaming about it ever since.I worked in Alaska when I was getting my undergraduate degree and loved the ice and water and mountains. Fjordlands National Park is similar in a lot of ways — but instead of bears you have Keas and instead of mosquitos you have sand flies. Mean, cruel sand flies.
Milford Sound is the most popular of the sounds because it’s the only one accessible by road — it’s about 120 kilometers to drive from Te Anau to Milford but it is a slow drive. The road winds a lot with many ups and downs and you can’t go 2 minutes without someone wanting to stop and stare and take a picture. I expected the Sound to be beautiful, but the drive there was truly the most amazing drive I’ve ever been on.
There’s a little town at Milford Sound but don’t expect much. It has a campground (book ahead), a lodge, kayak rental, and the area where the boats are that take you on the Sound and that’s about it. We stayed at the campground here and this is where the Keas tried to eat our gear and the sand flies drove us indoors.
We took the three hour discovery tour when we went to Milford Sound. It takes you on a boat through the Sound and then stops at the Discovery Center. To put the size and scale into perspective, the picture on the right was taken from the cruise in Milford Sound. The yellow dots at the bottom are kayakers!