You know the saying ‘it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey’, well in my eyes Milford Sound embodies these very words. Not to say that once you arrive you will be disappointed, on the contrary the Sound is stunning, however for me it is all about the scenic DRIVE which gets you there.
I will never forget the first time I came through the 1.2km long Homer Tunnel into what I thought was a different world. This time round, be it my second I thought that the amazement would have been somewhat reduced by my knowledge of what awaited me…how wrong I was. The exit from the tunnel was just as breathtaking as it had been the first time.
This time, instead of just doing a day trip I was able to stay in Milford Sound for two nights. Here is a run down of helpful information!
We decided to book ourselves into Milford Lodge for two nights. A powered camper van spot came at a cost of $27 per person per night. Not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, however, the accommodation options in the National Park are limited and the facilities at this place were exceptional.
The complex included a large living area with sofas, a dining area with multiple tables and chairs, a large well equipped kitchen and two whole corridors with modern, single shower rooms! (No luck with the WIFI however, we were told it was expensive and very slow)
The main building of the Lodge had a cafe/restaurant where we indulged in a couple of cheeky glasses of wine and a VERY long Monopoly game.
WALKS - As well as multi-day hikes for those who mean business, there are plenty of options for short walks and day hikes off the Milford Road. You won't need guides for most of them, however, you will need some good walking shoes! For more information you can read up on the walks here and here
MILFORD CRUISE - There are multiple companies which offer cruises of the Sound. Some are more expensive than others, varying in group size, length of tour and boat facilities. Our rental car (LUKY CAMPERS along with JUCY CAMPERS) have a special deal with a cruise owned by JUCY, whereby, the driver will receive a half price discount by showing the car keyring when purchasing the ticket. Also note that certain cruise times are cheaper than others, for example early mornings and evening cruises, simply because most people visit Milford Sound as a day trip making the middle of the day, their busiest times.
We of course jumped at the offer and booked a ticket with this company. By opting for the 8:55am cruise we were able to get one ticket at $45 and the second one half price at $22.50. In all honesty, the sound is so big that views are all the same regardless of what vessel you are on, so if you are going purely to admire the landscape, then I don’t see the point in paying more for one of the fancier yet more expensive options.
other IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
There is no - to very bad and expense WIFI
It is very windy and it rains a lot so take a raincoat and walking shoes if you have them
There NO bottle shops, the only options are to bring your own alcohol or have a drink at one of the restaurants (although on the pricey side)
When planning your trip, give yourself some extra time for the multiple stops to lookouts and waterfalls along the way. You will want to stop and take pictures trust me!
This was such a beautiful and relaxing stop, I definitely preferred staying for a couple of days instead of just doing a day trip, you get to actually enjoy the place and have time to soak it in instead of spending most of your time travelling to and from the location.
A must do when planning your New Zealand trip, trust me!
Next stop, the stunning blue waters of Lake Tekapo!