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Quick Explainer: The Milford Road

The Milford Road is a 120km stretch of highway that leads into Milford Sound. It is the only road connection to Milford Sound and is notorious in several ways - beautiful and sometimes dangerous to name a few. There are often many questions about how to get to Milford Sound and why people might choose to stay in Te Anau beforehand, rather than Queenstown. This quick explainer is the answer to your Milford Road questions.


The Milford Road, Luxe Tours NZ

Milford Road - Quick Facts.

  • The Milford Road is 120km long and runs between the lakeside township of Te Anau, and the fjord of Milford Sound.

  • The journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound, without stops, takes approximately 1:45-hours

  • There is one lane in, and one lane out with some small sections of road being only one lane altogether.

  • Approximately 4000 people travel the Milford Road every day in Summer, and about 900 in Winter.

  • The majority of visitors travel on a guided tour.

  • The Milford Road is prone to closing in Winter/Early Spring when there is snow.

  • The highest point of the road is 940m at the Homer Tunnel. The Milford Road has the steepest gradient to this peak point of any highway in New Zealand.

  • The Milford Road has one of the higher accident rates per proportion of vehicle movements in New Zealand and is considered New Zealand's 3rd most dangerous road.


How to get to the Milford Road?

How to get to Milford Sound, Luxe Tours NZ
  • No matter where you come from, you must travel through Te Anau to access the Milford Road.

  • It is not possible to drive directly between Queenstown & Milford Sound.

  • If you stay on the main road as you come into Te Anau, you will eventually end up on the Milford Road.

Cleddau Valley on the Milford Road, Luxe Tours NZ

Where to stay on the way to Milford Sound?


We highly recommend staying in Te Anau prior to your journey to Milford Sound.

Local Tour options for the Milford Road from Te Anau.

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