While finding a scenic route in New Zealand isn’t exactly challenging, few will beat the roads that take you from Queenstown to Milford Sound. The State 94 Highway climbs through the Southern Alps, taking you and your passengers to heights of 940m above sea level. Part of SH94, this road will lead you to Milford Sound, while allowing you to enjoy the best scenery the Fiordland National Park has to offer.
The route is certainly beautiful, but you do need to execute a little forward planning to ensure you reach your end destination: Milford Sound.
Set off for Milford Sound at the Right Time
It takes approximately four hours to drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound. Using the following guidelines should help you reach your cruise on time:
- Set off at 6AM to arrive at Milford Sound by 10. Your cruise will depart at 10:45am.
- Set off at 8AM to arrive at Milford Sound by 12. Your cruise will depart at 12:45pm.
- Set off at 10AM to arrive at Milford Sound by 2pm. Your cruise will depart at 2:45pm.
Te Anau is approximately 2 hours away from Queenstown, and forms part of the route. Always factor in a little time for stopping off to go to the toilet and to grab some refreshments.
Have Enough Fuel to Drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound
Once you arrive at Te Anau, you need to fill your tank up. There are no petrol stations between Te Anau and Milford Sound, as well as sparse mobile phone signal. As such, running out of fuel can soon become inconvenient. If you start to run low, you can turn off at Hollyford and get petrol at Gunn’s Camp. Once you are at Milford Sound, you can fill up there too.
Phone Coverage Between Te Anau and Milford Sound
As mentioned, phone coverage is practically non-existent between Te Anau and Milford Sound. There is a card phone available at Knobs Flat, an emergency satellite phone at Homer Tunnel, and a card phone at Milford Sound itself. When driving from Queenstown, you will have mobile phone signal up to Te Anau only. In addition, you are legally obligated to carry chains when taking this route during winter months.
Taking Chains on the Te Anau to Milford Sound Road and Enjoying the Scenery
The road from Te Anau to Milford Sound is incredibly scenic, which means it offers opportunities to explore throughout the year. However, it is illegal to drive without chains during the winter months, so don’t forget to take them.
Once at Te Anau, you can enjoy a range of outdoor activities. Explore the lake by fishing, engaging in watersports, and going for nature walks. Although these lakes were discovered by European explorers in the mid-19th-century, they still retain the same charm they held hundreds of years ago. As such, you will find that they have an untouched feel to them.
If you are driving from Queenstown to Te Anau and would like to take a leisurely approach, why not stop there overnight? The locals are renowned for their hospitality, and with an early start you can explore the many attractions on the Te Anau to Milford Sound route. Once there, you can take one of our cruises to soak in everything Milford Sound has to offer.
Now read about what to see on the drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound.
Road Status provided by Transit New Zealand
You can also ring NZTA ’s freephone number 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 444 449) available 24/7