Milford Road – Does it live up to the hype?

Milford Sound consistently features on peoples top 10 destinations in the world and is renowned for being one of the best in New Zealand. Yet, it is not only the Sound itself that makes it such a renowned destination – but also the road to it. Because of this, I was a bit apprehensive about doing it. Can it really be that good? Or will it be a f*cking dissapointment? (Like anything Muse has done since 2006).

Milford Road cuts its way from the town of Te Anau (a quiet place – apart from mini golf there is nothing to do. You’re either here to walk or to go to Milford), through Fiordland National Park and ultimately to Milford Sound. I was lucky enough (well, I paid to) travel this road in both directions before taking a cruise on the Milford Sound. This road is not without it’s dangers. It’s frequently closed (as it was a week before I travelled in) due to rock falls and avalanches. Brilliant. I’ve paid to travel to some possibly over-hyped place where if being trampled by tourists doesn’t kill me, an avalanche sure will.

Who am I kidding? This road is incredible. It deserves all the hype it gets. I took hundreds of photos on the road and hundreds more on the sound. Here are my favourite shots from the road. I hope you enjoy and appreciate how sweet a place this really is.

Milford Road.

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Eglinton Valley.

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Mirror Lakes.

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Gunn Lake.

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Mount Crosscut / Hollyford Valley.

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Homer Tunnel.

Impressive tunnel carved through solid rock. This tunnel is over 1000 metres in length and through much of it has no supporting structure. It literally is just a hole in the rock.

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East Homer Nature Track.

(Even got in a cheeky bit of bouldering).

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Monkey Creek.

Filling up my water. 99% pure – the wettest water in the world.

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Falls Creek.

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Tutoko Valley.

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Cascade Creek.

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I realise that these are in no particular order, but I can’t be blamed for that! I stopped at some of these locations and lookouts on the way there and others on the way back – and I’m too lazy to trawl the internet and find the correct order. I’m sure you don’t need it to see how gnarly this road is and that it well deserves it’s reputation as one of the best in the world.

Here are some pictures of the different wildlife which I encountered en-route too.

Kea. The world’s only alpine parrot. Tearing apart someone’s rental car. It held on the roof after it stopped moving for well over two hundred metres.

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Mountain Daisy’s.

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Purple Lupins.

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That’s it for the Milford Road. Stay tuned for my a blog on the Milford sound.

Ever been on the road? What did you think? Or have you driven down better? Please, let me know!

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7 comments

  1. So true…the route to Milford is awesome in itself. I hired a rental and took pretty much 8 hours to drive in, stopping everywhere to get out and do little likes, check out the glacier and explore. Was worth it to have the car and freedom. Would love to go back and hike the Milford Track…but at least I got a taste of what this part of NZ has to offer!

  2. Baaa so jelous! That looks like my idea of paradise.

    1. Anthony Braybrooke · · Reply

      It’s one incredible place! I just wish I had enough time to get to Doubtful Sound! It’s meant to be as beautiful, but even less touched by humans.

  3. My husband and I cruised both Milford and Doubtful Sound several years ago, and the road to Milford was far and away he highlight for us. We stopped and hiked a few small treks, but we left feeling that we had cheated ourselves the true experience by only spending a day on the road/trails. We would love to go back one day and do the multi-day Milford Track.

    We stayed in Te Anu as well, and while there isn’t much to do, it is home to the infamous glow worm caves! This is on many traveler/bloggers “must see” lists. We, unfortunately, didn’t return in time from the Milford cruise to catch the last boat in to the caves, but if we ever make it back there, it is on our list, for sure!

    1. Anthony Braybrooke · · Reply

      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad to hear that the Milford Road was your highlight! Makes me feel slightly better about not having the time for Doubtful Sound! I would LOVE to have had enough time for the multi-day hike. If I ever get around to getting a working visa for NZ, that’s just one of the multi-day hikes on the list! I hope you get back one day and get to see the caves, I hear they’re pretty remarkable. I was suppose to be going to Waitimo to see the caves, but due to (my) poor planning – I had to miss it. Luckily I caught some glow worms in Rotorua on the advice of the hostel owner. I saw some in Tasmania too, when I managed to catch a private tour of the Gunns Plains Cave!

      x

  4. My husband and I cruised both Milford and Doubtful Sounds several years back, and the road to Milford was far and away a highlight for us. We stopped and hiked a few of the short treks, but we left feeling that we’d cheated ourselves of the true Milford experience. The forest seemed almost primordial and was paradoxically rain-forest lush while simultaneously somewhat alpine. We immediately decided that we needed to return one day to hike the full, multi-day Milford Track.

    We stayed in Te Anu as well, and while there isn’t much to do there, it is home to the infamous glow worm caves. This is consistently listed as a “must see” by many travelers and bloggers. Unfortunately, we didn’t return from our Milford Sound cruise in time to catch the last boat to the caves, but if we ever make it back there, it is definitely on our list!

    Love your photos!! The kea is the best. Those birds are a trip!

  5. Great photos mate. Had a chuckle about the parrot!

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