Planning Your Milford Sound Day Trip. This page gives some general advice on how to plan your day trip to Milford Sound including travelling times, avoiding congestion, and being ready for the drive.

Planning Your Day Trip

This page gives some general advice on how to plan your day trip to Milford Sound.

Times and Distances:

The journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound and return (along the same route) is 234 km, and will take about 2½ hours to drive each way including scenic breaks. An eight hour day is needed if you plan to take in the many sights and short walks along the way, as well as take a cruise on Milford Sound. From Queenstown the return trip is even longer - 573 km, so for your comfort and enjoyment, we suggest that you plan your return trip from Te Anau.

Avoid Congestion:

Over 400 000 people visit Milford Sound each year, most during the summer season. Many visitors plan their arrival in Milford to coincide with boat cruise departure times. This can result in congestion at some of the scenic stops along the Milford road during peak times.

The majority of coaches depart from Te Anau between 9am and 10am and arrive at Mirror Lakes around 10:30am, Knob's Flat at 11am, The Chasm at 12:30pm and Milford Sound for the 1pm cruise. By avoiding this pulse of traffic, your Milford Road experience will be more relaxed, with fewer disturbances from the heavy coach traffic and high numbers of visitor. If you have limited time, a nonstop direct drive from Te Anau to Milford will take at least 2 hours.

To avoid congestion along the road during the busier summer season (October to April), either leave Te Anau early in the morning, before 8:30am, or later in the morning, 11am onwards.

Before You Leave:

There are no shops or fuel stations between Te Anau and Milford Sound. A limited selection of food, drink and fuel (petrol and diesel) is available at Milford Sound and Gunn's Camp (petrol only), which requires detour down the Hollyford Valley Road. To be safe, ensure that your fuel tank is full before leaving Te Anau so you have enough for the return trip.

Refreshments are generally available on the boat cruises. Public toilets are only available at Te Anau, Knob's Flat and Milford. Remember, dogs are not allowed in the National Park.

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