Milford Sound Weather—When is the Best Time to Visit

milford sound weather - when is the best time to visit?

Milford Sound weather changes so much that entire waterfalls can appear on some days and disappear on others!

As one of the wettest areas on earth, Milford Sound weather benefits from high levels of rainfall and precipitation. While not everyone sees rain as a positive attribute, it only takes a few minutes in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park to appreciate its presence. Like the rest of the national park, Milford Sound needs rain to thrive. Knowing more about Milford Sound weather patterns and how they can enhance your experience will help you plan your trip.

Typical Milford Sound Weather Throughout the Year

The good news for those wishing to see Milford Sound at its best is that rainfall is quite consistent around the year. However, the peak months for high rainfall are January and December. Although most places on earth don’t benefit from being wet, Milford Sound does. Heavy rainfall tends to create a series of temporary waterfalls there. This means you see water cascading down the cliff faces in unique locations, as well as enhanced thunderous falls in the waterfalls that have permanent places in the area.

As an area that benefits from lush rainforests, Milford Sound and the surrounding Fiordland National Park areas really come to life when the rain falls. A combination of high precipitation and bursts of sunshine mean that the flora and fauna really have a chance to thrive, allowing you to experience them in almost tropical climates.

For some, heat is a high priority. The average temperatures during January and December tend to be around 18-20 degrees Celsius (64-68F), but can head as high as 27 degrees Celsius (80F). It is worth bearing in mind that this increases the chance of humidity. Humidity won’t make everyone feel uncomfortable, but it does mean you will sweat more. As such, you need to take along plenty of water to stay sufficiently hydrated.

Milford Sound weather throughout the year

Here is a chart showing how the weather changes at Milford Sound throughout the year. You can get up to date weather information here.

Chart of Historical Milford Sound Weather

The weather at Milford Sound varies dramatically throughout the year. Do you want to visit Milford Sound on a dry sunny day or when the water falls are at their best during the wetter weather?

Visiting Milford Sound When the Weather is Cooler

In contrast with those balmy summer months, June, July, and August can see averages of around 6 to 11 degrees celcius (42-53F). This won’t ruin your experience at all, and it may even bring out the best in some of your favourite creatures. Although penguins and seals are present throughout the year, they do tend to become more active when the weather starts to cool. As such, if you are visiting Milford Sound because you love to see certain animals, you might want to plan your visit during the winter months.

Preparing for Milford Sound’s Rain

How the weather affects your time at Milford Sound depends on how heavy the rain is. In most cases, it will be continuous, but should not be too heavy. This does mean you need to dress appropriately, though. If you are a fan of denim, consider leaving your favourite jeans behind, as they can soon become bogged down when the skies open. Instead, opt for a mix of light clothing and waterproof jackets with hoods. The combination of waterproofs and light clothing prevent you from becoming too wet, without leaving you to overheat.

The time of year that is best for you to visit Milford Sound really does depend on what you want to take away from your experience, and the weather can play a part in that. To see it in its finest natural glory, head there in January and December. Otherwise, give the winter months a whirl for higher penguin activity. Do remember, it is a beautiful area throughout the year, so you won’t lose out either way.

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