If you would prefer to reach Milford Sound by car, you drive from Te Anau. At just 240 KM (144 miles) long, the drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is a beautifully scenic route that offers plenty of opportunities for sightseeing. Depending on the weather, it should take you no longer than two hours. However, do bear in mind that there is no mobile phone signal for much of the route, which means you should follow some safety guidelines before planning your trip.
Te Anau to Te Anau Downs: 30 KMs
The first 30km stretch of your trip will see you reach the world-famous Te Anau Downs, which were first discovered in 1888 by Quentin McKinnon. If you enjoy walking, you can start off on the Milford Track from here.
Mirror Lakes: 59 KMs
When you reach the 59th kilometer, you will see Mirror Lakes. As an area that practically epitomizes serenity, it is well worth a stop, even if you stay for just a few moments. The lakes mirror the mountains that tower above them, presenting a perfect photo opportunity for budding nature photographers.
Knobs Flat: 63 KMs
If you need to stop off to go to the toilet, this is the perfect place to do it. Not only is there a toilet and campsite available, Knobs Flat is the point at which you can soak in the ethereal feel of the kames and hummocks of Eglington Valley.
Cascade Creek: 75 KMs
Complete with shallow glistening pools and tumbling waterfalls, Cascade Creek is perfect for a fleeting nature walk. With towering red beeches, it is both scenic and relaxing.
Lake Fergus: 80 KMs
Initially discovered in 1889 by George Barber and William H. Homer, Lake Fergus derives its name from the MP of Wakatipu, Thomas Fergus. The lake received its name following Fergus’ death, and continues to stand as a beautiful commemoration of his work across Queenstown.
The Divide: 84 KMs
Reaching heights of 918 metres above sea level, The Divide is ideal for walking out to The Summit and looking out over Eglington, Greenstone, and Hollyford valley.
Hollyford Valley Lookout: 88 KMs
Stopping off at Hollyford Valley Lookout is an opportune moment to look out and see how the river’s below meander between mountains. From here, you can also see Darren Mountains.
Lower Hollyford Road: 89 KMs
Even though this 22KM road is no-exit, it is worth exploring. Just 1km in you will come to Marion Track, which is an invigorating 3-hour walk with lots of scenery. Drive 8KM further and you will find Gunn’s Camp, which is a great destination for learning about pioneer history. From Gunn’s Camp, you can walk to see the 275m high Humbolt Falls.
Monkey Creek: 96KM
To see great views of the Hollyford Valley and learn a little more about William Homer’s history, stop off at Monkey Creek. Named by Homer himself, this creek continues to attract plenty of tourists, much as the explorer anticipated.
Homer Tunnel: 102KM
As yet another aspect of the route named after William Homer, Homer Tunnel is in one of the natural habitats of the Kea Mountain Parrot. While not the most vibrant parrot in the world, its inquisitive and somewhat cheeky nature makes it a delight for people of all ages to see. With a gradient of 1 in 10, the tunnel descends for 129 metres and exits at 1141 metre elevation. The traffic lights may leave you sitting there for as long as 15 minutes, so factor extra time into your proposed drive.
The Chasm: 110KM
You are edging ever closer to Milford Sound now, so why not take a quick break to peer at Cleddau River as it runs through The Chasm. After just a 20-minute stroll, you will find yourself deep in the chasm, where the river carves out fascinating rock formations.
Mount Tutoko: 112KM
As the highest point of the Fiordland National Park, Mount Tutoko is not to be missed. Often featuring snow that glistens in the sun, it has an otherworldly feel, even when you observe it from a distance.
Cruise Milford Visitors’ Centre: 122KMs
Complete with a car park and easy to use signage, the Cruise Milford Centre marks the end of your journey. After checking in at the Cruise Milford Desk, you are ready to enjoy your Milford Sound cruise.