Milford Sound, Queenstown Overview

Situated towards the southwest of south island of New Zealand, Milford Sound is a fiord belonging to the Fiordland National Park and is also common between the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site and Milford Marine reserve. It is one of the top tourist destinations of New Zealand. Despite what the name suggests, it is not a sound but is a fiord. The name was given with respect to its geographical features.

Milford sound is very popular among tourists as it is easily accessible. It attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year and a considerable portion of these tourists reach there by foot though the Milford track. But a major portion is found to be traveling there by cars or coaches. The Fiord is cut off from the world as there is no network available here. 

It stays true to the words said by Rudyard Kipling that this place is the eighth wonder of the world as it is looks beautiful in any climatic conditions and is a result of glacier carvings from the ice age. The fiord houses a number of temporary waterfalls every time it rains heavily. Although there are two permanent waterfalls called the Lady Bowen Fall and the Stirling Fall.

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Things to do

Cruise: Milford Sound Cruise is the ultimate thing to do when visiting the fiord. There are various operators that operate in the area with cheapest Cruise starting at about NZD 45 per person.

Kayaking: Kayaking is another great opportunity for an adventure activity in the region. There are kayaking trips organized in the region and they are approximately NZD 100 per person.

Hiking: There are a few hiking trails around the fiord and beautiful waterfalls that are found along the way. One of the popular hikes is to the glacier carved valleys and waterfalls.

Trekking: Trekking is a heavier activity here than hiking. Most of the treks go through the dense forest areas in the Tutuko Valley. There are two ways you could undertake these treks, either by hiring a private ranger or by joining the groups. The wildlife explored during these treks offer a once in a life-time experience.

Star Gazing: Due to its secluded location and minimum population, this place is an amazing spot for star-gazing during the night time. The sky here is lit up by the milky-way, the Southern cross and may falling stars.

Brief History

The name ‘Milford Sound’ is derived from Milford Haven of Whales. Before that, it was named Piopiotahi by the Maori which translates into the piopio bird. This is indicative of the Maori legend of them in an attempt to win immortality. Legend says that when the Maori failed in their attempts, a mourning piopio flew down here.


The entire destination can be covered in a wide cost range. There are budgetary options as well as luxurious options. Reaching the fiord by air would obviously cost more. Further, the budget depends on a number of factors like accommodation, transport and itinerary choices. On an average, the cost is somewhere around NZD 270.

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