5 Reasons Milford Sound Should be on Your Bucket List
1. Milford Road
Milford Road is just as pretty as Milford Sound itself and should not be rushed or overlooked by any means. The Milford Road winds through the valleys of the surrounding Fiordland mountains (including my favorite spot, the Routeburn Track), with rushing waterfalls at almost every turn. You could spend a week hiking and exploring the Milford Road area and seeing the Hollyford Track, Earland Falls, The Chasm, and much more. At a point along the Milford Road, there is a one way tunnel separating the "normal" mountainous terrain, from the even more jaw-dropping cliffs with waterfalls pouring into the valley. It felt like we were in Land Before Time and we found the Great Valley! Once you finally reach the sound, you are exhausted from all the beauty, but rest up...because you are in for a treat!
2. The Waterfalls
When we traveled to Milford Sound, we were lucky enough to spend the whole first day exploring the Milford Road in 5 inches of torrential downpour. I say we were lucky enough to see this, because the rain transformed the already incredible landscape into cliffs of water. It looked as if we were at the bottom of a whirlpool with waves coming from all sides. We went back the next day for our early morning kayaking trip, and were surprised to find that the majority of the waterfalls had already disappeared but revealed glaciers and cliffs that were not visible the day before.
Fun Fact: Milford Sound has an average annual rainfall of over 6 meters. This creates a heavy layer of fresh water on top of the saltwater blocking out the sun to the sea creatures below. Because of this phenomenon (deep water emergence) there are more deep ocean creatures at shallower depths in Milford Sound...hence a great place for diving or going to the underwater observatory!
3. Outdoor Haven
Milford Sound has something for everyone. If you are wanting extreme outdoor immersion, you can do a kayaking trip, hike the Milford Track (one of the Great Walks of New Zealand), or scuba dive the sound. If you are wanting to see the sights without getting your feet dirty, there are countless flights and cruises that show the beauty equally as well.
We kayaked the Sunriser Classic with Rosco's Milford Kayaks. It was fantastic seeing the sound during the quiet morning hours, though if I were to do it again, I would combine the kayak trip with a cruise to see more of the sound.
4. Where Mountains Meet Ocean
Some people are mountain people and some are ocean people. The good thing about Milford Sound is it brings both together. Mitre Peak is what everyone thinks of when someone says Milford Sound, and for good reason, as it is a huge mountain that juts out of the ocean, but the whole sound has mountains jutting up from all over. The terrain is so extreme that sometimes sheets of trees fall to the ocean (there were lots of fallen trees in the water when we kayaked after the torrential downpour). And to think Milford Sound is just one of many fjords/fiords in New Zealand.
5. The View...of course!
It is an artist's and outdoor-lover's dream to be surrounded by so much beauty! Come see it for yourself.