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Milford Sound - The Ultimate Guide from local experts

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Milford Sound stands as a testament to nature's grandeur, with its towering cliffs, lush rainforests, and cascading waterfalls. Nestled within Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound overflows with unique wildlife found nowhere else on earth, inviting travellers from around the globe to catch a glimpse of rare species and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the extraordinary landscape. But like all great journeys, proper preparation is key to unlocking the magic of your Milford Sound experience. From getting there, packing essentials, to must-see attractions, this 5000 word ultimate guide will equip you with everything you need to know to ensure a seamless, unforgettable Milford Sound Adventure.


Milford Sound’s Location


Milford sound location

Milford Sound is remotely situated within Fiordland National Park on the lower west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The isolated location creates a unique environment for rare species to thrive and offers a sense of tranquillity, allowing you to completely disconnect and immerse yourself in nature. This remote location means that access options are limited. The only road access is via Milford Road from Te Anau, the closest town to Milford Sound. Air travel is possible, with small aircraft flights most commonly available from Queenstown. But if you want the full, immersive experience of a journey to Milford Sound, then road travel is the way to go.

Getting There


Milford Sound Tours

Guided Tours from Queenstown to Milford Sound are available, with most buses or coaches collecting you directly from your accommodation, taking you through Te Anau, and then along the winding, picturesque Milford Road and driving you back again. Milford Sound Tours from Te Anau are also available, and due to ease and time constraints, about 60% of visitors choose this option.

how to get to milford sound

Average travel time from Queenstown: Queenstown is 288km (179 miles) from Milford Sound, and when accounting for key site visits and toilet stops, the trip takes around 5-6 hours one way.


Average travel time from Te Anau: Te Anau is 120km (75 miles) away from Milford Sound, and a tour from Te Anau takes around 3 hours one way when accounting for the necessary rest stops and photo opportunities.


There are a variety of companies providing tours throughout the year, and these can be easily booked online. Be sure to book well in advance, as tours from both locations book up quickly, particularly in the busier December to February months.


Self-Driving

Road to Milford Sound

Some visitors choose to drive themselves to Milford Sound, and if you choose this option, travel times will vary depending on where you choose to drive from, where you end up stopping, and the duration of your rest breaks. A day trip from Te Anau averages around 7 hours for a round trip. From Queenstown, this blows out to about 13 hours.


New Zealand’s roads are likely much narrower and more rugged than the roads you’re accustomed to, with the road leading to Milford Sound being particularly hazardous in certain conditions. For confident drivers, self-driving allows for maximum freedom in trip planning, with the potential to stay at various campsites along Milford Road and your choice of time spent at key locations along the way. If you choose this option, you’ll likely need to hire a vehicle. Hire vehicle bookings can be easily done online, and hire vehicles are available from most main South Island towns, such as Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, and Invercargill. If you choose this option, it’s a good idea to get comfortable driving the vehicle for at least a few days prior to embarking on the winding journey along Milford Road.



Making the Most of Your Time

To get the most out of your Milford Sound adventure, it’s a good idea to plan to stay in or around the area for at least one or two nights. Day trips from Queenstown are great if you need to fit a lot into a busy schedule, but allowing extra time to visit Milford Sound will prevent the rushed feeling that some people experience when they try to fit everything in on a day trip from Queenstown.


When you’re visiting Milford Sound, it’s about the destination and the journey. Planning to stay a night or two in the area will allow you to get in some more leisure time, experience some of what Te Anau has to offer, and truly let yourself sink into the awe and tranquillity of the Milford Sound experience.


Milford Sound Accommodation

Milford Sound Lodge

Due to Milford Sound’s remote location, there is only one accommodation option inside the small Milford township: the Milford Sound Lodge. Tucked away under the forest trees and oriented toward Milford’s majestic mountain peaks, it offers a peaceful, picturesque stay in either a private chalet or a powered campsite. The lodge has stoney grounds, making it unsuitable for pitching a tent, so you can only stay in these campsites if you have a van or a motorhome vehicle.



milford sound accommodation prices

Prices vary depending on the option you choose, with the powered campsites starting at around NZD$120 per night and chalets ranging from NZD$600-1000 per night depending on the room. Bookings can be easily made online, and there is a minimum of a 2-night stay to book from November - April. No same-day bookings are accepted due to limited campsites and chalets, so if you’d like to stay at the Milford Sound Lodge, you’ll want to book well in advance, as it books up very quickly.

Milford Road Accommodation

Accommodation options along Milford Road include Eglinton Valley Camp, as well as various camping sites with limited facilities.


milford road accommodation and campsites

Eglinton Valley Camp

Eglinton Valley Camp is about 62km (around 38.5 miles) from Te Anau, providing a tranquil setting in the heart of Eglinton Valley. It offers a range of unpowered tent and campervan sites, various-sized cabins, and tourist units. You can easily book online, and prices range from NZD$30 per night for an unpowered tent or campervan site to around NZD$260 per night for a larger-sized unit. There are kitchen facilities for guests to use and vending machines for snacks, but you’d need to bring your own food and cooking supplies if you decided to stay here.

Milford Road Campsites

Eglinton River Milford Sound

There are a number of camping sites along Milford Road, each having its own unique charm, stunning views, and choruses of birdsong to sing in each new day. Cascade Creek, the last campsite before Milford Sound, is one of the largest and most popular campsites along Milford Road. Here, guests are treated to the sound of the crisp, clear waters of Cascade Creek and spectacular mountain views. There are several toilet blocks, picnic tables, dining shelters, and running water available. At all Milford Road campsites, boiling the water before drinking is recommended.


Milford Road campsites are managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), the primary government service responsible for conserving New Zealand’s natural and cultural heritage. Prices range from NZD$8 - $10 per night for an adult, and you can book online and find out more about each campsite from the DOC website.


Te Anau Accommodation

A popular option for visiting Milford Sound is staying in Te Anau the night before, waking up refreshed, embarking on your Milford Sound journey, and then staying in Te Anau again afterward. Te Anau provides a delightful beginning and end to your Milford Sound journey, striking the perfect balance between active leisure and relaxation to gently ease you into the breathtaking Milford Sound experience and ease you back out again.


te anau accommodation

Te Anau Hotels and Lodges

There are a variety of lodge and hotel options in Te Anau. If you fancy treating yourself to a luxurious night or two, then Fiordland Lodge, Fiordland Eco Retreat, or Cabot Lodge could be an excellent choice, all providing lake and mountain views and fine dining options.


Other fantastic hotel options in Te Anau include:



All accommodations can be easily booked online, with average prices ranging from NZD$245 - $895 per night for two adults depending on which hotel or lodge you choose.



Te Anau AirBnB Options

AirBnB options are plentiful in Te Anau, with over 120 places available. Most AirBnBs will offer at least three bedrooms, full kitchens, and bathrooms. Many are located around the lake, providing homely comfort with luxurious views. Average prices are around NZD$200 for two adults, per night, depending on how many people are in your group and the size of the accommodation. There are plenty of AirBnB options for families also with the average price of a 3 - 4 bedroom home being $250 - $500 per night.


Te Anau Campgrounds and Backpackers

There are also many budget-friendly accommodation options available in Te Anau, including various campgrounds and backpackers. Backpackers offer either shared or private rooms and bathroom facilities. Various campgrounds and holiday parks may offer motel units, cabins, and powered and unpowered camping sites, as well as shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. Prices range from around NZD$23 - NZD$100 per person depending on where you stay and the type of accommodation you choose. Below is a list of well-rated affordable options in Te Anau:


Tasman Holiday Park (4.6 Stars)


Te Anau Lakeview Holiday Park (4.4 Stars)


Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers (4.4 Stars)


Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park (4.2 Stars)


Fiordland Great Views Holiday Park (3.4 Stars)


Te Anau: The Gateway to Fiordland National Park


With the shores of Lake Te Anau as its backdrop, Te Anau serves as a scenic gateway to Fiordland National Park and an idyllic escape for nature lovers. Travellers often utilise Te Anau as a base for exploring Milford Sound. Te Anau provides a diverse array of dining and activity options to suit a range of preferences, and its peaceful ambiance and proximity to Milford Sound make it an ideal starting point for your visit to Milford Sound.



Things to Do in Te Anau

Outdoor activities

Te Anau offers a plethora of activities that can be easily found and booked online, such as a visit to the mystical Te Anau glowworm caves, with the journey providing a scenic lake cruise, forest walk, and dazzling cave tour all in one trip. Some tour companies offer package deals that include a Milford Sound Tour and Te Anau Glowworm Tour, providing a two-day adventure filled with natural wonders.



Some other great outdoor activities include the Wings and Water Floatplane, offering a range of scenic flight options over Fiordland, such as Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, and an intriguing mystery flight. If you feel like adding some speed to your trip, then the Fiordland Jet provides a fun few hours on the water, with your choice of exhilarating river or lake tours.


Indoor activities

fiordland cinema te anau

If you’re with a group, the Fiordland Escape room is a great option for some team-building fun, providing 60 minutes of puzzle-solving entertainment.


For some indoor relaxation, the Fiordland Cinema provides luxurious movie seating and a full alcohol bar and snacks. It screens the latest blockbusters and also has daily screenings of Ata Whenua - Shadowland, a documentary showing magnificent aerial views across Fiordland’s stunning landscapes.


Budget-friendly Activities

Takahe Te Anau bird sanctuary

Wildlife enthusiasts can indulge in some up-close encounters with New Zealand’s rare native bird species at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is open from dawn to dusk and is free for self-guided tours. Guided tours are available most days at 10:30 am for NZD$10 per adult (children are free), and tickets are available at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, 1 Lakefront Drive.

Cycle train Te Anau

For a scenic cycling trip through bird-filled forests and wetlands, the Lake 2 Lake cycle trail provides a fantastic outdoor excursion from Lake Te Anau to Lake Manapouri. Bikes and e-bikes can be easily hired from a number of providers in Te Anau, allowing you to explore the area at your own leisurely pace.


Te Anau is also the starting point for several of South Island’s iconic hiking tracks, including the Milford Track, the Kepler Track, and the Routeburn Track, showcasing breathtaking vistas through ancient forests and crisp alpine environments. Information about each of the tracks can be easily found online and at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre.

Where to Eat in Milford Sound

While Milford Sound’s remote location limits dining options, there are a few places available to savour delicious flavours while surrounded by Milford’s natural beauty.

Pio Pio Restaurant

The Milford Sound Lodge is home to Milford’s only restaurant: Pio Pio Restaurant. The restaurant provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers some delectable dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients. With a seasonal menu showcasing fresh seafood and some traditional Kiwi delicacies, it's a delightful opportunity to indulge in some local flavours while immersed in the tranquillity of Milford Sound.


Prices at Pio Pio restaurant range from NZD$19-60 depending on the dish you choose, so this restaurant is a wonderful option to treat yourself, but likely not a place you’d want to rely on for every meal of your Milford Sound Experience.


Discover Milford Sound Information Centre & Cafe

For light snacks, lunch, and coffee, the Milford Sound Information Centre & Cafe is a convenient choice, particularly if you need a quick snack before or after a cruise. Opening hours are 8:30am-3:30pm 7 days a week, and prices range from NZD$4-$30.


Where to Eat in Te Anau?

Restaurants

Redcliffe Te Anau

There are a range of great restaurants in Te Anau. For those craving a taste of local cuisine, The Ranch Bar & Grill offers a menu highlighting New Zealand's finest meats and seafood, cooked to perfection and served in a warm, rustic atmosphere. If you prefer international flavours, La Toscana is a popular Italian restaurant known for its authentic pasta dishes and wood-fired pizzas. Meanwhile, Redcliff Restaurant and Bar provides a fine dining experience, with a relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff, and a delicious menu including vegetarian and vegan options.

Smaller eateries

Te Anau is also equipped with a range of smaller eateries and convenient options for quick bites, ranging from NZD$6-$30 depending on where you go and what you eat. Ditto provides delicious Asian-inspired cuisine, such as bao buns and sushi bowls at reasonable prices. Miles Better Pies is a popular stop for many travellers wishing to indulge in the comfort of a delicious pie, and the Wapiti Bakery & Cafe is home to other baked goods and an affordable lunch menu. The Milford Road Merchant is another wonderful stop for your travels, offering great coffee, tasty pies, and other baked goods, as well as an array of artisan foods and gifts.

Supermarkets and convenience stores

If you’re spending a few nights in Te Anau or planning to camp along Milford Road, you’ll likely need to purchase some cooking ingredients and snacks. Te Anau has a FreshChoice supermarket, providing all your grocery needs. There is also a Four Square supermarket conveniently located on the main street for an easy stop-in while out and about, and the Te Anau dairy is great for grabbing some fish & chips, quick snacks, ice creams, and drinks.

Preparing for the Journey

Milford Sound Weather

Milford Sound experiences varying temperatures throughout the year. New Zealand’s summer months (December to February), bring temperatures ranging from 19°C to 9°C in Milford, offering pleasant conditions for cruising amidst clear skies and occasional showers. The Autumn months of March to May bring cooler temperatures of 16°C to 6°C, and the winter months (June to August) can be chilly with temperatures as low as 4°C, often accompanied by snow-capped peaks. Spring (September to November) sees temperatures rise to 14°C.

Milford Sound is also famous for its high rainfall, receiving an average of 6,813mm annually. The region experiences consistent rainfall throughout the year, with the wettest months being December and January. Summer often sees heavy, sudden showers, while winter brings steadier rainfall. The plentiful rainfall enhances Milford’s dramatic beauty, creating numerous cascading waterfalls that adorn the surrounding cliffs, making every visit a truly mesmerising experience.


What to Pack for Milford Sound

What you need to bring on your Milford Sound journey will depend on the type of trip you’re doing. For a day trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound, make sure to pack a waterproof raincoat, even if the weather in Te Anau is hot and sunny. You’ll also want to ensure you have layered clothing and space in your bag to store any layers you remove, as temperatures in Milford can fluctuate throughout the day. Sturdy footwear is also important to keep you comfortable and allow you to explore the beautiful walking tracks along the way. Other essential packing items include:

  • A high-SPF Sunscreen: Sunscreen is essential, as New Zealand has high UV radiation levels compared to many other countries, even in winter.

  • Sandfly protection items: Insect repellant is crucial, as sandflies are common in Milford due to the humidity, and their bites can cause a lot of itching and swelling for some people. An excellent tip is to take a non-drowsy antihistamine before you leave, which helps limit itching and swelling if you do get bitten.

  • Medication: Bring any medication you require throughout your usual day. If you’re prone to travel sickness, then some medication such as Sealeg tablets can be helpful.

  • Camera and cash: A good camera or smartphone is essential for capturing the stunning scenery and wildlife you’ll see, and cash can be helpful for purchasing a quick snack in Milford if you need it.

  • Food and drink: It’s a good idea to bring some food along with you for the day, particularly if you have any dietary requirements. If you’re taking a tour, then some tour companies will provide some food and drink, as well as options for ordering a meal onboard a cruise. Be sure to check what your tour includes to decide on what food to bring.

If you’re planning to camp along Milford Road or stay at the Milford Sound Lodge, you’ll need to bring enough food for however long you’re staying, as well as cooking supplies like pots, pans, cutlery, and cups. Milford Road camping will also require something to cook on, such as a portable gas cooker. You’ll also need your sleeping items, such as a sleeping bag and pillow, as well as a tent if your vehicle isn’t equipped for sleeping.


Going Offline

milford sound

When journeying to Milford Sound, prepare for being out of reception a lot of the time. After Te Anau Downs, 33.3kms (20.7miles) into the journey, there is no reception until Eglington Valley. Once there, there is 4G and reception for a few kilometres, and then nothing until you reach Milford. In Milford, there is cell phone coverage, though it can be quite slow. There are also pay-phones available at Milford Sound Visitor Terminal and at the Discover Milford Sound Information Centre & Cafe if you need them.


If you’re self-driving, then downloading any maps and information you need before you leave is a good idea, and putting your cellphone on flight mode when you embark on your trip will help conserve the battery.


The Milford Road

Road Conditions

Traveling along Milford Road requires careful and considerate driving. There are many travelers along the road throughout the year, and the road can be quite busy in the summer months. It’s also a narrow, winding road, so caution is required.

milford road in winter

Because Milford is prone to changeable weather patterns, there is a chance of cold temperatures, heavy rain, and snow year-round. While these fluctuations create a unique and awe-spiring viewing experience at any time of year, they can influence the driving conditions of Milford Road. Snow is common on the road, particularly in the May to September months, creating potentially treacherous conditions. Winter driving is not recommended if you’re self-driving, as conditions are often too hazardous. Going to Milford on a tour with an experienced driver is a good option for winter months, as tour guides know the road exceptionally well and will carry essential items for winter driving, such as snow chains.

Guided Tours vs Self-driving

Self-driving allows ultimate freedom in your Milford Sound visit, allowing you to choose where you want to stop and how long you want your trip to be. You also get all the privacy and comfort of your own vehicle and can do a Milford trip at a relatively low cost if you plan well. However, because self-driving in winter is not recommended, you will be limited in the times of year you can visit. Additionally, the driver of the vehicle may miss some of the stunning scenery along the way as they will need to keep their full concentration on the road.


Guided tours mean that nobody will have to miss out on any of the stunning views, as all the planning and driving are done for you. You’ll also be taken to all the best spots for beautiful scenery and photo opportunities, and you’ll get to learn fascinating information about key locations from your knowledgeable tour guides. Additionally, because self-driving is not recommended in winter, a guided tour will allow you to see Milford in the colder months, which is a favourite time of year to visit for many people. Driving through snow and white mountain peaks is a magical experience, and you’ll get to witness Milford transformed into a tranquil winter wonderland.


Travel Tips

Fuel

If you’re self-driving, you’ll want to fuel up in Te Anau before you leave, as there are no fuel stations between Te Anau and Milford Sound.


The Homer Tunnel

Before you reach Milford Sound, you’ll drive through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km long tunnel through solid granite rock. The tunnel is narrow and steep, so it operates under a traffic light system during the busy summer months to keep it safe. Once in the tunnel, there is no lighting, so be sure to remove your sunglasses and turn your headlights on before entering the tunnel.


Must-see Stops

The journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound unveils a series of natural wonders, and we’ve outlined some key locations to ensure you get the most out of your journey to Milford Sound.


Mirror Lakes

The Mirror Lakes, 57 km (35 miles) from Te Anau along Milford Road, are surrounded by mountains reflected in their calm waters, providing the perfect photo opportunity. Here, you can take a peaceful stroll along the boardwalks, taking in the reflections of the Earl Mountains and lush beach forest.


Eglinton Valley

Located, 62km (around 38.5 miles) from Te Anau, the valley is a vast expanse of golden tussock grassland fringed by towering mountains. The crisp, peaceful valley air will leave you feeling refreshed and calm, the best state of mind for visiting Milford Sound.


The Chasm

Located 108 km (around 66 miles) from Te Anau, the chasm is a marvel of sculpted rock and thundering waters created by the force of the Cleddau River, allowing visitors to witness the immense power of water. This stop is all the more amazing in wet weather when the waterfall is at its fullest.


Unique Tour Stops

Tour companies will each add their own unique charm to your trip, providing various different stops you may not have the opportunity to experience on your own. For example, Luxe Tours include a 25-minute return nature walk option to Lake Marian Falls, a scenic hike leading to Lake Marian's enchanting falls, a secluded gem amidst lush forests. It’s recommended that visitors do this walk with a knowledgeable guide who will be experienced in all weather conditions and will carry safety equipment, such as first aid kits and a satellite phone for emergencies.


Milford Sound: Nature’s Masterpiece


Fjords, Waterfalls, and Wilderness

Milford Sound is an example of Mother Nature’s finest work with its dramatic fjords and towering cliffs painted by cascading waterfalls. The pristine wilderness exudes an ethereal beauty, inviting you to explore the enchanting landscape and create unforgettable memories in this unparalleled realm of natural splendour.


How Milford Sound Came About

Despite its name, Milford Sound is actually a fjord, not a sound. Sounds are formed when seawater floods into old river valleys, whereas fjords are formed by glaciers. Milford Sound was formed millions of years ago when ancient glaciers calved deep valleys into the landscape. When these glaciers melted, they left behind large chasms that flooded with seawater, forming the deep fjords we see today, showcasing millions of years of geological history.

lady bowen falls milford sound

Milford’s fjord creates a unique marine environment where freshwater flows from the mountains to fall on top of the saltwater entering from the sea. Saltwater is denser than freshwater, so the two waters don’t mix, and the freshwater instead forms a layer on top of the saltwater. Because the freshwater flows through forests, it is stained a tea colour and creates a dark top layer on the fjord. This process forms the perfect environment for deep sea creatures, like black corals, to live only a few metres below the surface waters, and it provides optimal conditions for a variety of rare marine life to thrive.


Exploring Milford Sound

Parking in Milford Sound

If you’re planning on self-driving, you’ll need to be prepared to pay for parking while you explore the area. There is high parking competition in Milford, and it costs NZD$10 per hour to park. There are pay machines located at the entry/exit points, and you simply enter your vehicle’s licence plate number into the pay machine and follow the instructions. The machines only accept credit/debit cards, and the carpark is heavily monitored. Failing to pay for parking will incur a heavy fine, so be sure to remember to pay.


If you take a guided tour from Te Anau to Milford Sound, you don’t need to worry about parking, as the shuttle will drop you at the visitor terminal where you can easily access your cruise if you’re taking one.


Milford Sound Cruise

milford sound cruise

A Milford Sound Cruise is recommended for all visitors, providing the best option for seeing the entirety of the fjord. Once you board your cruise, you’ll sail through Milford Sound’s deep waters flanked by enormous mountains and tumbling waterfalls. You’ll get to catch a glimpse of unique creatures while guides share fascinating information about Milford’s wildlife and geological and cultural history. Most cruises will also provide tea and coffee, and some cruise operators may even have a full restaurant and bar on board.

Exploring on Foot

If you’re on a day trip to Milford Sound, then the foreshore walking track is a great activity to add to your trip. The track is a 15-minute loop walk from the carpark, leading you along the shorefront, through the forest, and ending at a lookout with spectacular views. Alongside this track, you’ll also find the iconic Milford Swing, a fantastic photo opportunity with the stunning Mitre Peak mountain in the background.

Kayaking and Water Activities

kayaking milford sound

Kayak tours are another fantastic way to explore some of the fjords, allowing you to touch the waters and paddle through waterfalls. With kayaking packages, you can also visit the underwater observatory to see some of the unique deep sea creatures that live beneath the surface of Milford Sound’s waters. Dive tours are another option for exploring beneath the surface, and these can be booked online. Dive tours take up a lot of the day, so they’re a great activity if you’re visiting Milford Sound over multiple days.

Wildlife Encounters

Milford Sound’s unique marine environment creates a diverse ecosystem, where large populations of marine invertebrates and fish species thrive. This ecosystem provides plentiful food sources to support many rare marine mammal and bird species you may encounter during your explorations. Depending on the time of year, you may see NZ fur seals, Fiordland crested penguins, little blue penguins, dolphins, and whale species.

Cultural Experiences

Milford Sound holds profound significance for Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Māori discovered Milford Sound over 1000 years ago, many years before European Explorers. Tribes travelled to the area to hunt, fish, and collect pounamu, a type of greenstone used for tools, weapons, and jewellery. They named Milford Sound "Piopiotahi," meaning “a single piopio,” after a now-extinct bird that legend holds flew to Piopiotahi in mourning when a mythical hero, named Maui, died.


Oral traditions are a significant part of Māori culture, handed down through generations. Oral traditions attached to Piopiotahi, Milford Sound, are an important part of its cultural heritage, and you may come across many oral traditions throughout your Milford Sound journey.



Environmental Conservation


Preserving Milford Sound

Behind the incredible scenery of Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound is a community with a deep commitment to environmental conservation. These pristine wilderness areas are not just tourist destinations; they are sanctuaries meticulously preserved to conserve and protect their precious ecosystems. Strict regulations and sustainable tourism practices ensure minimal impact, allowing visitors to marvel at Milford Sound's splendour without compromising its fragile balance. Conservation efforts extend to reforestation projects, protecting endangered species, and educating visitors, making the journey to Milford Sound not just a sightseeing adventure but a pledge to protect and cherish our planet’s invaluable natural heritage.


How you can help

Visiting Milford Sound is a privilege that comes with a responsibility to preserve its pristine environment. Below are some tips for how your visit can contribute to the preservation of Milford Sound’s precious ecosystems.


Reduce Waste

Carry a reusable water bottle and snacks in eco-friendly packaging. Dispose of waste in designated bins


Respect Wildlife

Maintain a safe distance from wildlife, including birds and seals. Interactions with the Kea Parrot in particular can be quite close however please never feed or touch them, as it disrupts their natural behaviour and diet.


Stay on Marked Trails

When hiking, stick to designated paths to protect fragile vegetation. Avoid trampling on delicate flora to preserve their natural habitat.


Support Local Conservation Efforts

Contribute to local conservation organisations working to protect Milford Sound. There are designated donation boxes scattered throughout Fiordland National Park, making it easy for you to support conservation projects. Your support aids in ongoing preservation initiatives, ensuring the unique ecosystems thrive for many years to come.


Choose Responsible Tour Operators

Select tour operators with eco-friendly practices. Opt for cruises and activities that prioritise environmental conservation and educate visitors about the importance of conservation.


At Luxe Tours, our mission is to care for you and the environment in equal measure. Our luxury Mercedes van provides supreme comfort while being equipped with specialised emission-reducing technology. We also offset all our emissions by partnering with local farmers and community groups, funding one native tree for every guest who travels with us, each tree offsetting 11 times our total tour carbon emissions over 20 years. We also recycle the packaging of everything we provide on our tours, and our water bottles are completely plant-based, reusable, and compostable. Our chosen cruise partner is RealNZ for their commitment to using eco-friendly products and packaging, as well as their contribution to conservation projects throughout Fiordland and Milford Sound.



Respect Indigenous Culture

Milford Sound is part of the traditional lands of Māori. Learn about Milford’s cultural heritage and show respect for indigenous customs and traditions, acknowledging the sacredness that Milford has to Māori, and their role in its discovery.


The journey to Milford Sound is more than a mere travel experience. From the mirror-like reflections of Mirror Lakes to the thundering waterfalls of The Chasm and the serene cruises on Milford Sound, every moment is etched with unparalleled beauty. So plan your trip, pack your sense of wonder, and embark on the extraordinary voyage to Milford Sound—a journey that promises not just breathtaking scenery, but a profound connection with the heart of New Zealand's natural and cultural heritage.


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