Milford Sound, located in New Zealand's beautiful Fiordland National Park, is a destination that captures the hearts of travellers worldwide. Known for its breathtaking scenery - from towering peaks and cascading waterfalls to lush rainforests and crystal-clear waters - a day tour to Milford Sound is an adventure you'll never forget. However, the key to a hassle-free and memorable experience lies in knowing what to bring on a Milford Sound day tour. Let's delve into the essentials!
Understanding Milford Sound's weather
Before we jump into the packing list, it's crucial to understand the climate of Milford Sound. The region experiences a temperate rainforest climate, which means it can be unpredictable. Milford Sound is famously known as one of the wettest places on earth, averaging 182 rainy days per year, even in the summer months. However, don't let this deter you - the rainfall only enhances the beauty of the area, creating hundreds of temporary waterfalls cascading down the cliff faces. On the other hand, when the sun shines, it does so with intensity due to the hole in the ozone layer above New Zealand. This means you need to be prepared for all types of weather - from sunny and warm to wet and chilly.
Clothing: Packing for the Milford Sound elements
When it comes to clothing, layering is key. Temperatures can fluctuate dramatically throughout the day, and a sudden downpour can turn a warm day chilly. Start with a base layer of breathable material, such as merino wool, which wicks moisture away from the body. On top of this, add a warm layer like a fleece or wool sweater, followed by a waterproof outer layer.
Remember, rain is a regular occurrence in Milford Sound, so a waterproof jacket could go a long way to making your day more enjoyable. It is also very helpful if you choose to enjoy a 'glacial facial' during your cruise. What is that you ask? Most of the cruises in Milford Sound will pull up close to a couple of the waterfalls for you to enjoy the spray.
Even though Milford Sound is renowned for its rain, when the sun does shine, it can be intense. Therefore, it's a good idea to pack sun-protective clothing, including a hat and sunglasses. A lightweight, long-sleeved shirt can also offer added protection.
Comfortable, sturdy footwear is a must, especially if you plan to do any walking or hiking. Waterproof hiking boots are a must if you are doing any part of the Milford Track or any extended walk, as they provide grip, ankle support, and keep your feet dry. If you are sticking to the itinerary of your classic Milford Sound day tour, then just some good, sturdy shoes that you are comfortable in will suffice.
Essential Milford Sound accessories
Milford Sound is home to an infamous local resident – the sandfly. These tiny insects are known for their persistent bites, so insect repellent is a must-have item. Sandflies really join your tour from about Eglinton Valley (40mins in) onwards.
Despite the frequent rain, when the sun does shine in Milford Sound, it can be intense. Therefore, a high-SPF, water-resistant sunscreen is a must-have to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
Milford Sound & the Milford Road is one of the most photographed places in New Zealand, and for good reason. From towering Mitre Peak to the stunning Mirror Lakes, there are ample photo opportunities. Therefore, don't forget your camera or smartphone, along with extra memory cards and batteries.
While there are some facilities in Milford Sound, options are limited. It's a good idea to carry some cash for any unexpected expenses, like snacks or souvenirs.
Food and Drink
If you're planning to spend a whole day in Milford Sound, you'll need to think about food and drink. Some tours offer on-board meals, but it's always a good idea to bring your own snacks and water, especially if you have specific dietary requirements. There are limited food options in Milford Sound, so come prepared. In a Luxe Tour Milford Sound Day Tour, you can pre-order a full restaurant meal to enjoy aboard the cruise.
If you take medication, remember to pack this and if you a inclined to get motion sickness or sea sickness, then we suggest bringing some motion sickness tablets or sea legs. Sometimes people don't know whether or not they are likely to get sea sickness, especially if you haven't spent any time on the water or at sea - in this case we suggest bringing some medication with you just to be sure. Luxe Tours does carry small amounts of this as a back up and to care for our guests if needed. For more on sea sickness, check out our helpful article here.
Above all, remember to enjoy every moment of your Milford Sound day tour. Whether you're marvelling at the majesty of Mitre Peak, feeling the spray of Stirling Falls, or spotting a pod of dolphins, take the time to soak it all in. After all, these are the moments you'll remember long after your trip is over. Packing for a Milford Sound day tour involves preparing for all types of weather, from rain to shine. Remember to dress in layers, pack waterproof clothing, protect against the sun and sandflies, and bring plenty of food, water, and your camera. With these tips in mind, you're ready to embark on an unforgettable journey to one of the world's most stunning natural wonders.