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Best way to see Milford Sound

Reston, Virginia
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Best way to see Milford Sound

We will be in Queenstown next early March with a rental car. With that in mind does it make sense to base in Te Anau or Queenstown to do any flights/boats?Thank you.

14 replies to this topic
New Zealand
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for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
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1. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

if you want to do a day trip to queenstown then coach, cruise, fly is the ultimate trip. the drive in is just amazing, the cruise great and the fly out stunning. Do not self drive yourself in a day from queenstown to milford - its just too far.

you can also coach, cruise, fly from te anau on the the float plane.

southern discoveries is the only tour boat that visits the underwater observatory. IMO pure milford have the nicest most comfortable boat with great outdoor areas and indoor areas and covered outdoor areas.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

The best part is the drive down Milford Sound road and the cruise itself. If you have time as per my post on your other thread I would drive into Te Anau (you have Glow worm caves you can visit on the afternoon you arrive) and then do an early morning drive (in March) to Milford sound just stopping off at mirror lakes before the wind gets up and then do the other touristy stops on the way back when all the coaches are in Milford Sound.

New Zealand
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3. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

#2 it makes no difference whether you on coach or self drive for the number of people at viewpoints. its a lot lot lot less stress in a coach as they also have designated parking areas right at the harbour and along the viewing points. We were at te anau and milford sound last month. Traffic travelling 20 cars and more long and all stopping at the same place - on the way back is not advised as you are crossing the centre line to get to the carparks - and thats where we saw the accident.

we stayed at doc camp along milford sound road and from 7am to noon the traffic is pretty constant so it makes no difference to number of people. however, in nz what we think of as crowds are absolutely nothing compared to usa, china, europe and other places in the world.

Canberra, Australia
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4. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

I would recommend a couple of nights in Te Anau. its worth doing the boat tour to the cave on the afternoon you arrive, and the drive to Milford and back is very spectacular, and I'd prefer not to drive back to Queenstown (in any case when we went, we then went to Invercargill and the Catlins the next day).

Edited: 08 May 2024, 15:38
Lower Hutt, New...
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2 reviews
5. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

We went on a coach tour from Queenstown. The drive out there was stunning. Unfortunately our bus had some technical issues and I found it very cramped. I don’t know if other companies have less cramped buses (we used Great Sights). It was a very long day, but well worth it. If I did it again I’d maybe drive to Te Anau and stay there or ring around and find out more about the buses. I wouldn’t drive myself.

Reston, Virginia
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6. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

So my question is do I stay the 2 nights in Te Anau as a base or do the trips from Queenstown?

California
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7. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

How much time do you have? If you stay 2 nights in Te Anau (for me, this is the preferred way), you take away a night that could be spent someplace else.

New Zealand
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8. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

it depends if you want to coach, cruise, fly. if you want to do that then queenstown is a good option.

if you want to just coach and cruise then an overnight in te anau is a good option. otherwise its a very long travelling day from queenstown.

london
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9. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

I hope it’s ok to jump in here rather than start a new thread.

We will be staying in Te Anau for 2 nights. Is it better for me to drive or just take a coach. If coach which company would you recommend?

Is it an ‘easy’ drive or bends/hills etc.

Arrowtown, New...
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10. Re: Best way to see Milford Sound

Santa post #9 what time of year? Even staying in Te Anau, it is best recommended that you take a tour to Milford Sound, rather than self drive.

From early April there is the chance of black ice and snow (in fact - snow is forecast for tomorrow). By Sept/ Oct there are higher risks of avalanches. Throughout the year there could be heavy rain. Over summer (Dec-March) there is still the odd chance of snow, but the bigger 'risk' is the sheer number of tourists driving the road.

No, it's not a flat, straight easy, highway - it's a narrowing, winding mountain pass (approx 950m at Home Tunnel) through a rainforest.

In choosing a tour company - that's up to you - they pretty much all stop at the same sights. The main decision is whether you want a larger (50) or smaller (10) group on the transport - then what sized boat that joins at Milford Sound.

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