Coach tours offer a relaxing way of seeing Fiordland National Park in comfort. A guide or your driver often provides a commentary, pointing out significant or interesting sights.
Usually, multi-lingual guides are available. And of course, your guide will know where all the best places are to stop.
The Milford Road - One of the World’s Finest Drives
The Milford Road is a unique journey into the heart of Fiordland National Park.
It is one of the world’s most spectacular alpine drives and winds through rugged mountain views and breathtaking scenery.
Tours depart for Milford Sound daily and nearly all year round.
Along the way stops are provided to admire points of interest such as:
Mirror Lakes: on calm days the waters mirror the Earl Mountains.
Knobs Flat: a grassy river flat with hillocks of glacial waste.
There is a display to show the effect of avalanches on the Milford Road, and it also gives information on wildlife in the Eglington Valley: A stop is made to take in the wide views this impressive valley surrounded by the steep walls of the high mountains
Homer Tunnel: just before the Homer Tunnel the road enters a cirque basin, carved by ice into a steep walled amphitheatre. The Homer Tunnel cuts through the Homer Saddle for 1.2 kilometers; William Homer discovered the saddle in 1889.
The Chasm: Two foot bridges over the Cleddau River offer spectacular views of a series of waterfalls through sculpted water carved rocks
From the Homer Tunnel the Milford Road drops steadily into Milford Sound to be met by the well known New Zealand icon, Mitre Peak, towering above the glassy waters of Milford Sound.
Once at Milford Sound, most visitors opt to continue their tour with a launch cruise of Milford Sound.
Arrival in Milford Sound
Allow 15 minutes walk from the car park at Milford Sound to the departure terminal.
Most visitors to Milford Sound arrange a cruise on the sound as well as the coach trip.
Don’t forget to take a camera and lots of film, it is also wise to bring a jacket as it can get cold quite quickly.
For more information on launch cruises in Milford Sound, please click here.
The Milford Road may not be open 365 days a year, and is sometimes closed in winter due to avalanche danger.
The Milford Road is in very good condition, however, and is tar sealed all the way to Milford Sound.
A 1240 metre tunnel which begins 921 metres above sea level cuts through the Homer Saddle before the road drops into Milford Sound.
Ensure your lights are working before entering the tunnel.
Driving Time and Distance
It typically takes around 2 to 2 and a half hours (one way) to drive to Milford Sound from Te Anau. This is a distance of some 120 kilometres.
From Queenstown it takes significantly longer - around 5 hours (one way). This is a distance of some 333 kilometres.
See Lake Wakatipu and the Mountains of Fiordland
There is an all year round coach service between Te Anau and Queenstown provided by a number of operators.
From Queenstown, most tours carry on through Te Anau to Milford Sound.
Between Queenstown and Te Anau you will see Lake Wakatipu, rolling farmland and the mountains of Fiordland National Park.
Most of the tours are on air conditioned coaches or minivans and feature informative and interesting commentary from knowledgeable coach drivers.
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