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Milford Sound History

Milford Sound has a rich and varied history and has been a resource for Maori for around 1000 years. The famous English naval commander, Captain Cook passed the entrance to Milford Sound twice and so the European “discovery” of Milford Sound is credited to Welsh adventurer John Grono. Despite modern access by road, sea and air, Milford Sound retains its natural beauty and still attracts an abundance of wildlife including dolphins, fur seals, penguins and many different sea birds.

Fiordland Laughing Owl

The Fiordland Laughing Owl was officially declared extinct in July 1914. The last recorded bird was found dead at Blue Cliffs, in Canterbury, NZ. However, reports about the Laughing Owl of Fiordland persist.

Fiordland’s Waitoreke

In Kiwi folklore, the waitoreke ( waitorete or waitoreki) has been described as an otter or beaver type of creature that reportedly lives undisturbed in the deep south of the South Island.

Fiordland Moa

Speculations about the moa’s undetected existence in the wilderness of Fiordland and South Westland continue to attract curious zoologists and wildlife experts. You never know, a Milford Sound Cruise might be all you need to awaken the wilderness explorer in you.

Wild Moose chasing in Fiordland

Stories about the moose of Fiordland have been circulating ever since it was reported that a moose was shot in the 1970s. The hunt for these elusive creatures has continued ever since.

Milford Sound in Science and Popular Art

Milford Sound has featured in science and popular art since the 19th century. From encyclopedias to modern day political satire, this area of natural beauty crops up in the most surprising of places.

Milford Sound Boat Trips Through History

Today, thousands of people explore Milford Sound every year. Prior to the 21st century, this part of the Fiordland National Park was available by boat to professional explorers and a privileged set. Boat trips through Milford Sound have changed considerably, with day trips now available.

Famous Painters at Milford Sound in the 19th Century

As an area of natural beauty, Milford Sound has captured attention of many painters over the years. Many of these artists found their love for the area during the 19th century, allowing them to create truly stunning images.

Photographers at Milford Sound in History

Today, dozens of people take photographs of Milford Sound on a daily basis. While they’re certainly beautiful, it takes a step back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries to appreciate the area in its most rustic form.

Donald Sutherland, Milford Sound Explorer

In the years before thousands of visitors flocked to Milford Sound on an annual basis, Donald Sutherland was the area’s original explorer. After living in the area as a virtual recluse for decades, he eventually married and took his wife back there.

Milford Sound Wildlife

While many head to Milford Sound for its world-famous wildlife, all are still struck by just how diverse it is. From the smallest rocks to the depths of the waters splashing around them, Milford Sound offers an abundance of natural beauty.

Milford Sound’s European History

Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations today but its European history began quite late into the continent’s period of discovery. Following a chance landing by John Grono, Milford Sound was discovered as the area of marveling beauty we enjoy today.

Milford Sound and Maori History

While Milford Sound as it is known today is often thought of as a European discovery, it has been inhabited by Maori settlers for centuries. Owing to its fruitful waters and plants, Milford Sound became a life source and destination of joy to local Maori.

How Was Milford Sound Formed?

With a rich geological past, Milford Sound’s stunning landscape comes from a blend of tectonic activity, an ice age, and a little mythology. Convenient series of geological events have created the area as it stands today, and nature isn’t done with its formation yet.