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Milford Sound September with kids

Helsinki, Finland
8 posts
Milford Sound September with kids

Hi all, we are trying to plan our itinerary for south island trip to September 2024. We have 3 weeks in New Zealand and as we are traveling with then 1 year and 3 year old kids, we decided to stay only in south island giving more time for kids to explore rather than sit in a car. This time we want to take it a bit easier and really enjoy our holiday!

We are interested in visiting Milford Sound, but I am a bit worried of the driving and avalances. We are very familiar with winter driving as we are from Finland so I am not too worried about driving in snowy roads but avalances are my concern. Can anyone share experiences of driving there in September? Or could recommend good tour/guide that would be suitable for family travel? And is it worth traveling there with the kids? it would be extremely long day for them even when it would start from te anau. Any other/easier ideas are also appreciated!!

7 replies to this topic
New Zealand
Level Contributor
4,088 posts
6 reviews
2 helpful votes
1. Re: Milford Sound September with kids

It is not recommended you self drive to Milford between May and November. You may have your car trapped by avalanches. Most say a bus tour of that length is too much for very young children.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
Level Contributor
51,277 posts
577 reviews
231 helpful votes
2. Re: Milford Sound September with kids

No amount of driving experience can counter avalanches. September is possibly the worst month for avalanches as the snow is melting above Homer Tunnel and is more likely to block the road in the afternoon. There is no alternative road out. If you are on a tour it becomes their responsibility to fly you out.

If you stay 2N in the Anau, the coach tour is only 7- 8 hr long (approx 3hr going in the the fiord with several stops; 3 hr at Milford Sound, including the cruise & 2 hr coming back out).

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji, New Zealand, Tasmania
Level Contributor
27,852 posts
440 reviews
245 helpful votes
3. Re: Milford Sound September with kids

With 2 young kids they would be better off with a TSS Earnslaw farm tour out of Queenstown and possibly a stay at Geraldine Farmyard Holiday Park. https://www.farmyardholidaypark.co.nz/

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,265 posts
742 reviews
511 helpful votes
4. Re: Milford Sound September with kids

i agree #3.

Helsinki, Finland
8 posts
5. Re: Milford Sound September with kids

Ok we will definitely not self-drive. I googled some tours and there seems to be quite many companies providing the tour, like this one.

https://www.viator.com/tours/Te-Anau/Full-Day-Milford-Sound-Extraordinaire-Tour-from-Te-Anau/d22016-41793P1

It seems like a long day, but I am sure thst our kids would handle it. Would doubtful sound cruise/day trip be easier on kids? There seems to be less coach time. We would start the day from Te Anau, so which tour would be better?

And we will also take the cruise and farm visit in Queenstown! Thanks for the tip!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji, New Zealand, Tasmania
Level Contributor
27,852 posts
440 reviews
245 helpful votes
6. Re: Milford Sound September with kids

The Milford sound day cruise would be the best one to take if taking one cruise but do make sure you book direct with the operators not a third Party like Viator.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,265 posts
742 reviews
511 helpful votes
7. Re: Milford Sound September with kids

#5 book direct with an operator, not a third party. Do be aware that there are road closures due to weather at that time of the year and booking direct will ensure you can make changes, refunds and get direct communication.

Milford would be a better trip for kids. Doubtful sound is a long long day trip with a boat trip over manapouri, coach trip over the steep, narrow and twisty wilmot pass, and then boat on doubtful sound. its a long day.

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