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18 EPIC Things to do in Milford Sound + Ultimate Guide for Visiting in 2024

18 EPIC Things to do in Milford Sound + Ultimate Guide for Visiting in 2024

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With its towering mountain peaks, hundreds of waterfalls, and unique wildlife, Milford Sound is a must-visit destination on the South Island of New Zealand

But besides enjoying the view, what exactly is there to do in Milford Sound? 

Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of going on a boat cruise in Milford – that is what almost every visitor does. But believe it or not, there are actually lots of different things to do in Milford Sound besides just a cruise! You can take a kayak tour, go scuba diving, or stay the night in Milford for some epic stargazing.

I’ve been to Milford Sound a handful of times and it was during these trips that I realized there is more to Milford than what meets the eye. I mean, sure, a boat cruise in Milford is a must, but your adventures don’t need to end there.  

That’s why in this blog I’ll tell you about 18 awesome things to do in Milford Sound so that you can explore this stunning fiord in the best ways possible! 

Don’t have time to read the full article? Here are our absolute favorite things to do in Milford Sound!

  1. Take a cruise with a kayaking experience to get up close to the fiord! 
  2. Hike the Milford Sound Lookout Track– one of New Zealand’s Great Walks
  3. Visit the Milford Underwater Observatory to see below the surface of Milford
  4. Enjoy the scenery on the drive of the Milford Sound Road  
  5. Get the absolute best viewpoint of Milford on a scenic flight!

18 Things to do in Milford Sound, New Zealand 

1. Go on a nature cruise 

The most common activity in Milford Sound is a boat cruise. Almost every tourist in Milford Sound does one, and for good reason, they’re awesome! Sure, it may be a little “touristy” (we will get to the off-the-beaten-path things to do in Milford Sound soon, don’t worry) but the views from out on the water are unmatched. 

There are lots of different boat cruises to choose between in Milford Sound but my favorite is the nature cruise! Some of the boats in Milford are very large and suited to hold hundreds of people all while serving a buffet lunch.  

That’s not my style. 

Personally, I prefer the smaller boats that can go further into the fiord, get closer to waterfalls, and also have an easier time spotting wildlife. On a nature cruise, you will have an experienced nature guide on board who will tell you all about the area and help you spot wildlife. It’s a much more adventurous experience and one I really enjoy.  

This 1-hour 45-minute nature cruise is the ideal way to get into the nooks and crannies of the fiord, which boasts its impressive beauty! If you’re going to Milford Sound, this tour is well worth it. You can book this nature cruise in advance for $149 NZD.

2. Kayaking 

Kayaking in Harrison Cove, Milford Sound
Kayaking in Harrison Cove, Milford Sound

My absolute favorite activity in Milford Sound is kayaking! You get incredible views from the water while you adventure underneath waterfalls and next to towering cliff faces.  

The last time I went kayaking in Milford Sound I saw two yellow-crested penguins on a rock only a few meters away! These penguins are extremely rare so I was lucky to see them.  

The only downside to kayaking in Milford Sound is that you must join a tour. Companies do not rent kayaks out due to all the boats in the water, they need to ensure everyone stays safe. Which I can get behind!

With this cruise and kayak combined tour, you get the best of both worlds! Cruises are great because you get the comfort and commentary while on the boat, and you often get lunch. Once you reach Harrison Cove, you will get to switch to a kayak and go in to explore up close! It’s pretty cool, you get to use the automatic lift to get in and out of the water!

Me, all geared up and ready to go! You can see the kayaks on the easy-lower platform behind me.

Because of Harrison Cove’s protected location, the water is much calmer here, so kayaking is a breeze. The water is clear and the mountains that surround make you feel tiny in your kayak, it’s a remarkable atmosphere! Harrison Cove is also home to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory where you can go underwater and see the life below the surface.

This tour is great for those with little to no kayaking experience. You will only kayak for about an hour, but it is combined with a nature cruise which makes for a longer experience. It includes your cruise, lunch, kayaking, and the observatory! You can book this tour in advance for $295 NZD.

This is one of the best things to do in New Zealand – a bucket-list activity for sure! 

3. Take the Boat to Lady Bowen Falls 

Bowen Falls in Milford Sound
The beautiful Lady Bowen Falls!

Lady Bowen Falls is likely the first waterfall you’ll notice once you arrive in Milford Sound. This huge 162-meter (531-foot) waterfall is just across the bay from the Milford Sound pier. While you can easily see it from the pier, the only way to get close is to take a boat there and complete a short nature walk.  

Bowen Falls Walk is currently closed, but you can check here for regular updates! There are still boat tours that will get you close to the falls, but you won’t be able to get off and explore by foot.

The boat to Lady Bowen Falls departs at the pier regularly during the summer months. Just buy your ticket at the terminal on the pier ($10 NZD for adults and $5 for children) and jump on board!

The boat will take you right next to the falls, and when the Bowen Falls Walk is open, you get the best views up close!

The entire experience should only take about 30 minutes or so. It’s a quick activity in Milford but totally worth it if you ask me.  

4. Milford Foreshore Walk 

View of Mitre Peak on a moody day in Milford Sound
Some of the best views of Mite Peak are from the Foreshore Walk.

After you are done relaxing on a boat or paddling in a kayak, it’s time to stretch your legs on a short nature walk! 

The Milford Foreshore Walk is the most popular in the area. This short 400-meter (0.3 miles) long trail starts at the parking in Milford Sound. When you’re facing the water, start walking to the left and you’ll find a large paved path. This is the Foreshore Walk! 

The Foreshore Walk should only take you about 30 minutes to complete and it is completely flat. In fact, this trail is only one of the few in New Zealand that is actually wheelchair accessible (and good for those with strollers/prams too!).

Since it is such a quick walk, it’s actually one of the only things you can do in Milford after your boat cruise if you’re on a day trip from Queenstown. Most day trips from Queenstown to Milford Sound have very tight time schedules, but you can easily squeeze this walk in before jumping back on the bus! 

5. Find the Milford Sound Swing 

The Milford Sound Swing
Us on the Milford Sound Swing!

While you’re on the foreshore walk, I challenge you to find the “Insta-famous” Milford Sound Swing! Don’t worry, it’s not that hard of a challenge if you follow our Milford Sound Swing guide. This swing has arguably the best seat in the house for enjoying views of Mitre Peak.  

Rumor has it that one of the staff members of a cruise who lives in Milford made the swing for his girlfriend for a birthday gift. Tourists have since found it and their photos on Instagram have made the spot a popular place to visit.

See if you can find it for yourself (it is located a little way off the main path) and take some photos!  

6. Go stargazing 

The Milky Way over Milford Sound
The Milky Way over Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park

With so little light pollution, you can see the stars like never before in Milford Sound! The only problem is that you’ll need to stay until dark for this activity. In the summer, it gets dark quite late in the day, but in the winter months, it can get dark as early as 5:30 pm. 

If you really want to go stargazing in Milford then I recommend booking a night or two at the Milford Sound Lodge (more details about the lodge below). It is the only place to stay in Milford Sound. Seriously, it’s only a 2-minute drive from the Milford Foreshore and the best place to stay if you want to do some late-night stargazing or astrophotography!

7. Go on an overnight cruise 

Overnight cruise in Milford SOund
Imagine spending the night in such a magnificent place!

Another way to enjoy stargazing is by going on an overnight cruise in Milford Sound! An overnight cruise in Milford Sound really is the ultimate experience with more time enjoying the views and exploring the fiord.  

I have to be honest; I haven’t had the chance to join an overnight cruise in Milford Sound (yet), but I’ve heard incredible things. This overnight cruise comes highly rated and includes a 3-course dinner, private cabins, an onboard nature guide, as well as a continental breakfast.  

The only downside to going on an overnight cruise in Milford is the price – it isn’t cheap! You can expect to pay upwards of $1,200 NZD per person depending on the season. With that said, it is easily one of the best things to do in Milford Sound and an experience on my personal bucket list! 

This cruise also has kayaks, gorgeous viewing decks, hot tubs on the top level, and alcoholic beverages available to purchase. So while it is an expensive night, it is an incredible and luxurious experience! You can reserve your overnight cruise on Milford Sound in advance here.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

8. Stay at the Milford Lodge 

the milford sound lodge revew
One of the cabins at the Milford Sound Lodge.

If the overnight cruise is a little too pricey for you (like it is for me), all hope isn’t lost, stay at the Milford Sound Lodge! If you want to have more time in Milford Sound as well as visit at sunset or at night for stargazing, this is the best place to stay.  

The Milford Sound Lodge is only 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the Milford Foreshore. The next closest hotel is in Knobs Flat, about 55.1 kilometers (34.2 miles) away. Other than that, you will need to stay in Te Anau.   

I’ve stayed at the Milford Lodge on a couple of different occasions. For me, spending the night there is totally worth it simply because I can visit Milford Sound when it is the least busy. I’ve walked the foreshore in the evening before without another person in sight – it’s a peaceful experience that most people never get in Milford Sound.  

One of the best things about the Milford Sound Lodge is that they have accommodation for all budgets. You can get a powered campsite for only $120 NZD a night (which isn’t a terrible price if you consider the location) or if you’re looking for luxury, they have $500+ cabins too. Dorm beds, budget privates, and standard rooms are also available. All guests have access to the communal areas including a fully-stocked kitchen, hot showers, laundry, and living room.  

Be sure to book your stay at Milford Lodge as far in advance as possible so you don’t miss out!

9. Visit the Chasm 

The Chasm waterfall near Milford Sound
The Chasm waterfall near Milford Sound

The Chasm is one of the best attractions in Milford Sound. Located only a 10-minute drive from the Milford Foreshore, the Chasm is a common stop people make when driving from Te Anau to Milford Sound along Milford Road

The Chasm is a powerful waterfall and river that’s eroded the rocks around it over time to create interesting shapes. To see it for yourself, simply walk the short 400-meter-long (0.25-mile) walking track to various viewpoints. There are information boards along the walk that explain more about this point of interest. In total, this loop track takes about 20 minutes.

Well worth a visit if you ask me! 

10. Hike the Milford Sound Lookout Track 

Milford SOund lookout track
Not a bad view!

The Milford Sound Lookout Track is one of the best walks you can do in Milford Sound. It’s short, fairly easy, and offers some beautiful views! Unfortunately, most people never hear about this hike and miss it when visiting Milford Sound.  

The track is somewhat hidden and starts behind the café in Milford Sound. Walk to the rear parking lot behind the café in Milford and past the two brown buildings. When you pass Donald Sutherland’s grave you should find the track. Honestly, just follow the Google Maps location and you’ll find it easily!

The Milford Sound Lookout Track is only 400 meters long (0.25 miles) in total and takes you up above Milford Sound via some stairs. From up there, you’ll be able to enjoy Milford from a completely different point of view than you’ve seen before.  

Most people complete this entire trail in about 20 minutes or so. 

11. Tour the Milford Underwater Observatory 

Bailey at the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory
This is a really unique experience!

Okay, so by now you’ve seen Milford from a cruise out on the water, from the foreshore, and at the swing, as well as from the lookout above – now it’s time to see beneath the water’s surface! That’s right, you can actually see under the water of the Tasman Sea in Milford Sound if you visit the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory! 

The Milford Underwater Observatory allows you to walk three floors down to a viewing platform under the surface of the water in Milford Sound! The glass walls allow you to see what goes on under the sea including seeing rare block coral, fish, and maybe even dolphins if you’re lucky! 

The Milford Observatory is located out in an isolated bay in the middle of Milford Sound, and as such can only be reached on a boat cruise. Only certain boats stop here and allow visitors to get off the cruise and explore the Observatory with a knowledgeable nature guide. This particular cruise is one of them. 

To me, visiting the Milford Underwater Observatory is one of the most educational things you can do in Milford. It’s quite unique and interesting – kids also love it, and adults do too! This cruise is a fantastic way to explore Milford Sound because you’ll likely want to take a cruise anyway, and exploring the Milford Underwater Observatory is a bonus. You can reserve this 3-hour tour for $165 NZD, which includes entrance to the observatory, the cruise, and coffee along the way!

12. Enjoy a Milford Sunset 

A sunset in Milford Sound on New Zealand's south island
A sunset in Milford Sound is like no other!

Sunsets at Milford Sound are my favorite! Not only is it the most beautiful time of day, but it is the quietest.  

If you can, stay in Milford until the sun goes down. Walk the foreshore track, visit the swing, and just take in the serenity that is Milford Sound during unset. For photographers, this is one sunset you won’t want to miss! 

To be able to enjoy a sunset at Milford, you should spend the night at either the Milford Sound Lodge (mentioned above), a DOC-operated campsite in Fiordland National Park, or even Te Anau! Te Anau is a town only a 1.5-hour drive away so it is totally doable after the sun goes down – and there are lots of different places to stay to choose from!  

The route from Te Anau to Milford is quite scenic, so you’ll want to make this drive during the day so you can enjoy all the stops.

For more information on the campsites near Milford, check out our blog, where to stay in Milford Sound!

13. Find some glowworms 

Glow worms in New Zealand

Have you heard about glow worms before? This natural phenomenon is only found in New Zealand (and a few places in Australia) so it’s easily one of those must-do things to do in New Zealand! 

Glow worms are the larvae of a fly that lights up at night to attract bugs. Sound gross, right? Well, it actually isn’t and at night these glowworms light up caves and bushes like a starry night sky. It is really neat and really pretty! 

You can find glowworms on walking tracks around Milford Sound. Sometimes they can be a little tricky to spot, so my best advice is the ask the visitor center in Milford Sound where to look. Staff who live in Milford will know where the glow worms are currently hiding and will be able to point you in the right direction at the time of your visit.  

Alternatively, one of New Zealand’s most famous glow worm tours depart from Te Anau (an hour and a half from Milford). So, if you’re staying the night in Te Anau, this is a great activity to do after a day of exploring Milford Sound. You can even take this tour at any time of the day because they are in a cave, so the glow worms will be out at any time. This also means taking a tour is the easiest way to visit Te Anau Glow Worm Cave, otherwise, it’s a bit difficult to find.

This tour will take you on a boat ride across Lake Te Anau and into the glow worm grotto. Having a local guide is really helpful to learn all about these fascinating little creatures! You can book this 2-hour experience for $119 NZD. I highly recommend it for those who are interested in the outdoors and animals.

Related Read: If you want to see glow worms for free in New Zealand, then you need to head to Northland and check out Waipu Caves!

14. Make friends with Keas 

Bailey and a Kea pose for a photo at the Homer Tunnel
Just saying “hi” to a friendly Kea near the Homer Tunnel!

Keas are New Zealand’s native alpine parrots. That’s right – a parrot that lives in alpine weather! Keas are often described as friendly and mischievous. Those who hang around Milford Sound are not strangers to people and will likely walk (or should I say ‘waddle’) right up to you.  

Hold on to your belongings! Keas are also often referred to as ‘mischievous’ because they love to steal things. Food, keys, you name it – they might take it! They’ve also been known to enter motorhomes to help themselves to the kitchen, or even open up hikers’ backpack zippers on trails! These birds are smart and encountering one is an experience unique to New Zealand.  

Keas are also rare and native to New Zealand. They are cute and playful, and if you’re lucky enough to see one fly, you’ll see the bright colors under their huge wingspan. So, sit back and observe the cute Keas while you’re visiting Milford! 

Note: Please don’t feed the Keas, we want to keep them wild and hunting for food that is meant for them! 

15. Go scuba diving 

a crayfish found in the water in Milford Sound while scuba diving
Look what you can find while scuba diving in Milford! Photo credit: Descend Scuba Diving

One of the most special things to do in Milford Sound is scuba diving! The Tasman Sea in Milford is the perfect place to explore a unique underwater environment with the help of your scuba gear – there’s nowhere else in the world quite like it! 

Descend Milford Sound is the name of the only company that operates scuba diving tours in Milford Sound. They offer a variety of different experiences for qualified divers, and unqualified divers, as well as training and overnight packages.  

Scuba diving in Milford Sound experiences starts at about $445 NZD per person. These experiences include all of your gear (with an 8mm thick wet suit – the water is very cold!), a guide, a boat out to a dive site, and a warm tea and snack afterward. 

16. Drive Milford Sound Road 

Bailey standing on a stretch of road between Te Anau and Milford Sound
The road to Milford Sound in the winter.

The scenic drive through Fiordland National Park from Te Anau to Milford Sound is often referred to as one of the best parts of visiting Milford. I have to agree that along the road to Milford, there are dozens of stops and attractions well worth visiting. Some of my personal favorites include: 

So instead of rushing this drive, give yourself some time to check out some of these amazing attractions. Without stopping, this drive takes about 1.5-2 hours, but with stops and maybe even a hike or two, you should allow at least half of a day. 

You can either rent a car and explore the road to Milford yourself. There are also some great guided tours from Te Anau and Queenstown make these stops along the way. This is a good option if you don’t have a car or don’t want to worry about driving/finding all of these locations. Sometimes it’s nice simply letting a local guide lead the way so you can just enjoy the scenery, and trust me, there’s a lot to take in!

If you’re staying in Queenstown, you can check out the guided Milford Sound tour here. Some tours leave out of Te Anau, which makes for a shorter day!

Related Read: If you’re driving yourself from Queenstown read about the best places to stop and important info for driving from Queenstown to Milford Sound.

17. Hike the Milford Track 

A hiker walks the Milford Sound Track
Deep valleys on the Milford Track – Fiordland, New Zealand

Hands-down the most famous thing to do in Milford Sound is to hike the Milford Track. As one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walksyou must book this hike well in advance to ensure you don’t miss out.  

The entire track is typically hiked over 4 days. It is 53.5 kilometers (33.2 miles) long and hikers must stay in DOC-operated huts along the way. New Zealand hiking huts are what book first and what you must book in advance if you want to hike the entire trail.  

Alternatively, you can book this half-day Milford Track guided walking tour. This tour completes 11 kilometers (6 miles) of the Milford Track. The reason you must do a guided tour is that the Milford Track can only be accessed by boat. The guided tour includes the boat ride to the track before exploring one of the most beautiful places on earth! 

Plus, it allows you to hike a less-touristy section of the Milford Track without having to commit to a multi-day hike! This tour is $159 NZD and you can reserve it in advance here.

Booking Tip: Be sure to book the Milford Track huts on the DOC website beforehand!

18. Take a scenic flight 

A helicopter flies though Milford Sound, New Zealand
A helicopter flies over Fiordland, southern New Zealand.

Scenic flights are super popular in New Zealand, and Milford Sound is one of the best places to do one! From up in the sky you’ll have views of waterfalls, the towering Southern Alps, and of course, the Tasman Sea.  

There are literally dozens of different scenic flights to choose from in Milford Sound. You can choose from a small fixed-wing plane (the slightly cheaper option) or a helicopter. You can also choose a flight that both departs and returns to Milford Sound, a flight that departs in Milford and lands in Queenstown, or departs from Queenstown and lands in Milford.  

Oftentimes, scenic flights are used as a mode of transport for those who don’t want to drive to Milford both ways. In fact, if you’re visiting Milford Sound on a day trip from Queenstown, then I highly recommend taking a scenic flight one-way. On a coach, cruise, and flight experience, you’ll really get to explore Milford (plus you don’t have to sit on a bus for 8 hours!).

You will drive from Queenstown to Milford, taking in all the amazing sights along the way, and then set sail on a 2-hour cruise in the fiord. But the highlight is the scenic flight home because the views are even better! While this is a slightly pricier way to experience Milford Sound, there is really nothing else like it. you can book this tour for $725 NZD per person.

And if you have room in your budget to stretch, consider this scenic flight that lands on top of a glacier! Departing from Queenstown, you’ll soar over Milford Sound and land to take a 2 hour cruise in Milford Sound. When it’s time to leave, you’ll make a pit stop on top of Mt. Tutoko glacier to explore for a bit before heading back to Queenstown! This 4-hour tour is epic, to say the least, and can be reserved for $1,330 NZD per person.

Related Read: Visiting Milford Sound from Queenstown is one of the best things to do in Queenstown – find out what else you can do in New Zealand’s adventure capital!

Getting to Milford Sound

A motorhome at the Homer Tunnel between Te Anau and Milford Sound
Waiting at the Homer tunnel!

Getting to Milford Sound can be done in one of three ways: drive yourself, join a guided coach tour, or fly! Below I’ve summarized each option so that you can decide what’s best for you.

Drive Yourself to Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a must-visit on any New Zealand road trip itinerary – and rightly so! Personally, I think the adventurous and scenic drive to Milford Sound through Fiordland National Park is one of the best parts of visiting Milford Sound.

I recommend renting a campervan in New Zealand (or a motorhome if your budget allows) and hitting the road! Give yourself plenty of time to drive to Milford Sound and consider camping in Fiordland National Park for a night or two.

Alternatively, simply rent a car in Queenstown for a couple of days to make your journey to Milford Sound and back again. Use our blog about the best stops on the road from Te Anau to Milford to ensure you check out the best attractions!

I wouldn’t recommend driving yourself to Milford Sound and back to Queenstown in one day. But if you’re debating whether to do a day tour to Milford Sound from Queenstown, it’s definitely possible. I suggest taking a guided day tour so you can rest on the journey.

Related Read: Save some money and learn how you can score a cheap campervan rental in Queenstown!

Guided Coach Tours

Guided coach (bus) tours to Milford Sound depart daily all year round from both Queenstown and Te Anau. These tours include a comfortable mode of transport either on a large coach or a mini-van as well as a tour guide and a cruise once you arrive in Milford.

Tours from Te Anau are slightly shorter as Te Anau is about 2 hours closer to Milford Sound than Queenstown. Going on a coach day trip to Milford from Queenstown is actually a 12-hour day with more than 8 hours spent driving – just something to keep in mind!

However, for those short on time, without the budget for a flight, or without their own wheels, this is the only option. And honestly, although a long day, it’s better than not seeing Milford at all.

Flight to Milford

The most extravagant (and expensive) way to get to Milford Sound is with a scenic flight. Flights are most common from Queenstown and often cost upwards of $400 NZD. However, scenic flights are definitely one of the best things to do in Milford!

I recommend only taking a flight one-way though. If you join a guided coach tour on the way there you’ll stop at all of the best attractions along the road to Milford and then skip the repetitive part on the drive back, replacing it with a scenic flight! This is called a coach, cruise, and fly tour – I highly recommend it if your budget allows!

Related Read: Mount Cook is another beautiful place to visit in New Zealand! Read about our experience on a Mount Cook helicopter flight!

Where to Stay in Milford

the milford sound lodge is one of the best options of where to stay in milford
The Milford Sound Lodge!

It’s a really good idea to spend the night in the area the night before and after your Milford Sound cruise so you will be less rushed and able to spend one full day at Milford Sound (and even stick around after the cruise to wait for sunset!).

There are not many options to stay directly in Milford, your only two options are the Milford Lodge or camping at the attached Rainforest Campervan Park. Camping can be done, but if you are visiting in the winter it will be very cold unless you have the right setup (heater, clothing, blankets, or RV with the option to hook up to electricity). The nearby city of Te Anau on the other hand has a few more options.

There are quite a lot of different places to stay including really nice caravan parks with rooms available at great prices. We stayed at the Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park and it was great! But there are lots of other options too!

Some great options for where to stay in Te Anau are:

Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers (budget hostel)

Located right in the town center this is the perfect choice for the budget traveler. They offer dorm beds as well as private rooms and have communal kitchen facilities and common spaces available. This a great social hostel – perfect for meeting other travelers.

Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park (mid-range budget)

This holiday park is where we stayed as it had budget private rooms as well as powered campsites (perfect for Daniel’s parents who were with us and had rented a campervan,) It is located just outside of town but in a very beautiful and peaceful area. There are tons of communal facilities and the park is kept very clean.

Fiordland Lakeview Motel and Apartments (high budget)

If you want a beautiful, comfortable, and somewhat luxurious place to stay then this is it! Right on the edge of the lake, this motel offers apartments that suit couples or families. Every room has a balcony, WiFi, air conditioning, a kitchen, and there are BBQ facilities onsite!

Milford Sound FAQs

Milford SOund at sunset after our Milford Sound cruise
Just taking in the views!

Tips for Visiting Milford Sound

boarding the milford sound boat cruise
One of the many Milford Sound cruises!

Before you head to Milford, make sure you keep in mind these important tips:

  • Bring insect repellent – There are lots of bugs in Milford Sound. The black fly or also known as Sandfly bites and it is so itchy!
  • Be prepared for any weather – Milford Sound is known for having four seasons all within a matter of hours. Layer up, bring waterproof gear, but also be prepared for sunshine with sunscreen and a hat.
  • Fuel up in Te Anau or Mossburn – The last place to get fuel (gas) for your car is in Te Anau so be sure you have a full enough tank for the drive there and back with stops or behind slow-moving traffic.
  • Be prepared to pay for parking – You now need to pay $10 NZD per hour to park in Milford Sound. I know, a hefty parking price, but that’s your only option if you self-drive (unless you’re staying at the Milford Lodge and leave your car there and walk – a good idea if I do say so myself.)
  • Pack food and snacks – There is a cafe in Milford but it is ridiculously overpriced. I recommend bringing your own packed lunch, and if you’re staying overnight at the Milford Lodge, bring groceries to cook within their communal kitchen.
  • Bring binoculars and/or your zoom lens – A cruise in Milford Sound will present opportunities to see wildlife. Binoculars will come in handy, or at the very least, a zoom lens on your camera.
  • Give yourself tons of time – Whether you’re driving yourself or on a coach tour, be prepared for a longer drive than expected. Sometimes traffic on Milford Road can be slow-moving and delays are frequent.
  • Consider visiting in winter – Milford Sound is beautiful in the winter. Plus, it is much less busy if you visit Milford in the winter than in the summer months. Just something to think about!

Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand

Bailey takes a selfie with a JUCY campervan
Ready to hit the road!
Bailey stands infront of a JUCY campervan in New Zealand
JUCY is another favorite!

The first step to planning your New Zealand road trip is choosing your set of wheels! Most people rent a campervan or motorhome to get around, but you can also just rent a normal car and stay in hotels (as opposed to camping.)

You can search for rental cars online here in advance to compare car models and prices.

You can also do this with motorhomes and campervans on a website called Motorhome Republic. It shows all of the available campervans and motorhomes for your specific New Zealand road trip dates. You can compare prices and company reviews here too!

JUCY is our personal favorite campervan rental company in NZ. We love JUCY because they have such a range of both cars and campervans available, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something to suit your budget and travel style.

We’ve actually secured an exclusive discount code for our readers with JUCY. Just click here to browse their availability and use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off! What a good deal!

You can check prices, availability and book with JUCY online here.

Star RV is another company we personally recommend but specifically for motorhomes! They offer larger motorhomes (as opposed to budget campervans) at really reasonable rates.

Star RV has actually given us a discount code for our readers too! Use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off your motorhome rental! Note, this code is only valid for bookings made before June 21, 2024 with travel dates before Dec 21, 2024. Click here to browse availability, prices, and book with our discount code!

Thanks for reading!

exploring milford sound on a boat
Thanks for reading!

Well, now you know that there are plenty of things to do in Milford Sound! In fact, you probably could spend a couple of days there just crossing a handful of these activities off your bucket list.

I hope that you found this blog helpful, and if so, be sure to read the rest of our blogs about Milford Sound and New Zealand in general. You can also check out some of our most popular blogs below:

15 BEST Beaches in New Zealand

ULTIMATE Queenstown Travel Guide (2023 Essential Info!)

10 Different New Zealand Road Trip Itineraries with Maps & Attractions