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Best way to spend time in Milford Sound

posts: 130
reviews: 13
Best way to spend time in Milford Sound

I have gotten quite confused on how to spend time in Milford Sound. The driving time from Queenstown looks to me like we'd barely have any time there before needing to return.

Does staying in Te Anau instead help? Though that still looks like a 3+ hour drive.

I am concerned that after all the driving to get there (even a beautiful one) - 2 hour cruise will give just a tiny bit of the experience. What would overnight cruises offer?

What options might you suggest?

posts: 711
reviews: 122
1. Re: Best way to spend time in Milford Sound

Stay in Te Anau and designate 2 days. Te Anau is beautiful, much quieter than Queenstown but with some great activities like the Fjordland movie and the Glowworm caves, plus lots of great hiking.

I wouldn't self drive from QT.

We left Te Anau at about 8:30, and with photostops and some hikes, didn't get there until just before our 1:00 cruise. Then after the cruise we dilly-dallied back as well, arriving in Te Anau around 5pm.

The Key Summit hike on the way is well worth 2 hours if you can hike. There are also many shorter hikes.

If you can afford an overnight cruise, I would do it. It is really stunning and that gives you a better chance for enjoying the sound under more than one weather condition.

South Island
Destination Expert
for South Island
posts: 1,233
2. Re: Best way to spend time in Milford Sound

If you want to do an overnight cruise go to Doubtful Sound. I have experienced the overnight in Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound and while Doubtful is more expensive it provides a more intense nature experience.

Queenstown, New...
posts: 1,500
reviews: 95
3. Re: Best way to spend time in Milford Sound

Do both sounds if you have time.

Drive from Te Anau to Milford , do the cruise if you want. The walks on the way in are great, esp the Key Summit walk.

The over night cruise at Doubtful is best. Consider it as a trip of a life time, as it is.

trelawnb-b.co.nz/Milford_Doubtful_Sounds.htm will show you your options.

posts: 130
reviews: 13
4. Re: Best way to spend time in Milford Sound

Thank you all three.

We will move some of our Queenstown nights to Te Anau. Looks better for travel to Milford Sound. Definitely will do the Key Summit hike too. Snowyandsniggles thank you for relating your experience, it helps immensely.

Thank you to SouthIslandBill and TreLawn (and thanks for the great write ups on your site) for the Doubtful Sound recommendation. Looks like that is what we would want!

posts: 942
reviews: 16
5. Re: Best way to spend time in Milford Sound

How long, and how strenuous is the key summit hike?

would it be advisable to do the hikes and stops on the way to the sound, and plan on a later cruise (3:15), if we stay the nights at Te Anau?

Nelson, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
posts: 20,509
reviews: 45
6. Re: Best way to spend time in Milford Sound

Key Summit is a great walk, most can do it. I have photos of the first time I walked there, aged about 5.


7. Re: Best way to spend time in Milford Sound

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