New Zealand Milford Sound Cruises
Why should one want to visit the New Zealand Milford Sound: the wettest place in New Zealand, where the annual rainfall is about 6500 mm, and where all the sandflies of this country seem to gather each single day?
Because … at the same time Milford Sound is one of the most spectacular places in New Zealand. Here you’ll find the highest sea cliffs in the world: rising almost vertically from the water to a height of 1200 m and more. The Mitre Peak is the highest mountain of the Milford Sound: is rises to 1692 m. It seems that because of the very heavy rainfall of this area, the mountain walls are often veiled in cascades of water. But when we visited the Milford Sound, it hadn’t rained for days (which is extraordinary!), so the waterfalls were quite small. But we did admire the enormous Bowen Falls, which are at walking distance from the wharf at Milford Sound, and where the water drops down 160 m into the sea.
The best way to explore the New Zealand Milford Sound is by boat. There’s a variety of cruise options: most Milford Sound cruises take you in about one and a half hour through the Sound to the Tasman Sea and back again, but there are also cruises that take much longer (they often include a visit to the Milford Deep Underwater Observatory and/or a lunch). And there are several overnight cruises. As the Milford Sound attracts over half a million visitors a year, this might be the only way to enjoy the peacefulness of this place!
The New Zealand Milford Sound can be easily reached by road from Te Anau. It’s a beautiful drive along the valleys of the Eglington and Hollyford Rivers, so don’t rush and stop to admire the landscape from time to time! You should count 2 to 2,5 hours to cover the distance (120 km) from The Anau to Milford Sound. Milford Sound itself is just a very small village, with not much more than a cafe, a visitor centre, and the Milford Sound Lodge. This is a backpacker’s accommodation, but they do offer camper van sites (don’t expect a nice campground though, it’s more like a parking lot).