Queentown to Milford Sound Trip

Queentown to Milford Sound Trip

⛰ Queentown to Milford Sound Trip: The Route

New Zealand is a country renowned for its stunning landscapes, and the journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound stands out as one of the most picturesque and unforgettable experiences.

This road trip takes you through some of the South Island’s most dramatic and awe-inspiring scenery, offering a blend of mountains, lakes, and fiords that will leave you breathless.

Step 1: Queenstown — The Adventure Capital

Your journey begins in Queenstown, often referred to as the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Before embarking on the road to Milford Sound, take some time to explore the charming town, engage in thrilling activities like bungee jumping or jet boating, and enjoy the vibrant local culture.

Queenstown adventure capital

Step 2: Te Anau — Gateway to Fiordland

Heading north from Queenstown, your route takes you through the town of Te Anau, considered the gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Te Anau is situated on the shores of Lake Te Anau and is an excellent place to stock up on supplies before the scenic drive ahead.

The road from Te Anau to Milford Sound is approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) and is regularly regarded as one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

Te Anau drive

Step 3: Mirror Lakes and Eglinton Valley

As you leave Te Anau, you’ll encounter the Mirror Lakes, providing stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains.

The journey continues through the Eglinton Valley, known for its expansive grassy plains surrounded by towering peaks.

This part of the drive offers ample opportunities for photography, so be sure to have your camera ready.

Mirror Lakes and Eglinton Valley

Step 4: Homer Tunnel and The Divide

The road to Milford Sound takes a dramatic turn as you pass through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2-kilometer tunnel carved through solid rock.

Emerging from the tunnel, you’ll find yourself at The Divide, a popular starting point for various hiking trails, including the famous Routeburn Track.

Homer Tunnel and The Divide

Final Step: Milford Sound — The Eighth Wonder of the World

Finally, you’ll arrive at Milford Sound, often called the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Sheer cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and dense rainforest surround this stunning fiord

Milford Sound offers a range of activities, including boat cruises that take you up close to the awe-inspiring scenery and wildlife, including seals and dolphins.

🥇 Booking Experiences

Booking a Queenstown to Milford Sound trip with Viator opens the door to a world of possibilities.

With just a few clicks, you gain access to a variety of options, from intimate small-group excursions to all-encompassing full-day experiences.

🏨 Accommodation in Queenstown

To find accommodation in Queenstown or nearby, you can check out this simple table to find cosy places, ensuring everyone has a comfy spot during their visit.

Accommodation Type Overview
Hotels Diverse options from luxury to boutique.
Motels Convenient and budget-friendly.
Holiday Parks Campgrounds and cabins for budget options.
Luxury Lodges Indulgent escapes with stunning views.
Hostels Social and budget-friendly options.
Apartments & Holiday Homes Fully equipped for families or groups.

📌 Booking Tips:

  • Early Reservations: Book well in advance, especially during peak seasons.
  • Flexible Dates: Explore different dates for potential savings.
  • Book your Stay: Consider using platforms like or to find the cheapest available deals.

Booking accommodation

Car, Campervan & Motorhome Rentals in Queenstown

🚙 Car Rentals

Several well-known car rental agencies operate in Queenstown, offering a range of vehicles, from compact cars to SUVs. Renting a car provides flexibility for exploring the surrounding areas and embarking on road trips.

✅ We recommend checking out — As they have a vast stock of cars for rent all around New Zealand.

Car rental search engine

🚐 Campervan Rentals

Campervan rentals are popular for those seeking a more adventurous and flexible travel option. They allow you to explore Queenstown and its surroundings at your own pace.

✅ Companies like Jucy or Spaceships Rentals offer campervans for rent in Queenstown, allowing you to drop them off in a different location.

Campervan rentals

🚍 Motorhome Rentals

When the time comes to hire a motorhome, Star RV is the leader in New Zealand. You can find their exclusive deals on their Star RV Official website.

Motorhomes for rent

🪂 Outdoor Activities Nearby

Queenstown’s outdoor offerings cater to diverse tastes and preferences, from the tranquil waters of the lake to the rugged mountain peaks.

⭐ Tips for the Trip

  • Weather Considerations: The weather in Fiordland can be unpredictable, so be prepared for rain and changes in temperature. Check weather conditions before embarking on the journey.
  • Time Management: Plan your trip with sufficient time for stops and exploration. The journey itself is a highlight, with numerous photo-worthy spots.
  • Accommodations:  While day trips are possible, consider staying overnight in Milford Sound to appreciate its serenity and beauty without crowds fully.
  • Respect Nature: Fiordland is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so follow Leave No Trace principles and respect the natural environment.


🧑‍💻 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Queenstown to Milford Sound Trip

1. How far is Queenstown from Milford Sound?

The distance between Queenstown and Milford Sound is approximately 290 kilometers (180 miles). The drive typically takes around 3.5 to 4.5 hours, depending on road conditions and stops.

2. What is the best way to get from Queenstown to Milford Sound?

The most common way to travel is by road. You can drive, take a bus, or join a guided tour. Alternatively, you can opt for a scenic flight or cruise.

3. Are there guided tours available for the Queenstown to Milford Sound trip?

Numerous tour operators offer various experiences, including bus tours, boat cruises, and combination packages that may include helicopter rides or scenic flights.

4. Do I need to book a tour in advance?

It’s advisable to book your tour in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. This ensures availability and allows you to plan your trip more effectively.

5. What should I pack for the trip?

Bring layers of clothing, as weather conditions can change rapidly. Also, pack comfortable shoes, a rain jacket, sunscreen, a hat, and any personal items you may need for the day.

6. Are there any hiking opportunities along the way?

Yes, there are several short walks and hiking trails along the journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound, such as the Mirror Lakes and the Chasm Walk.

7. Can I visit Milford Sound on a day trip from Queenstown?

Yes, it is possible to make a day trip to Milford Sound from Queenstown, but keep in mind that it’s a long drive, and you may spend several hours on the road.

8. What wildlife can I expect to see in Milford Sound?

Common wildlife includes seals, dolphins, and various bird species. Taking a cruise is recommended for the best chance to spot marine life.

9. Are there dining options available in Milford Sound?

Yes, there are cafés and restaurants in Milford Sound. However, bringing snacks is a good idea, especially if you’re on a day trip.

10. What is the best time to visit Queenstown and Milford Sound?

The summer months (December to February) are famous for warmer weather, but be prepared for crowds. Spring and fall offer milder temperatures and fewer tourists, while winter provides a snow-covered landscape.

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