The road to Milford Sound passes through stunning landscapes including mountain ranges, glacier-carved valleys, clear blue lakes and native rainforest.
Just before Milford Sound the road travels through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km-long tunnel passing through solid rock. Before it opened in 1954 after 19 years of construction, there was no road access to Milford Sound.
Although the Homer Tunnel is wide enough for a bus and a small vehicle to pass, traffic lights operate during the summer months. The tunnel is a reasonably steep 1:10 gradient running East to West. In winter on the Milford Road avalanches can occur. For Milford Road information visit NZ Transport Agency.
Image below: Near Homer Tunnel, by edwin.11, on flickr.
Sightseeing tour operators travel into Milford Sound year-round, with tour options for all group sizes and budgets.
GreatSights operates Milford Sound tours from Queenstown and Te Anau in luxury glass-roof coaches with onboard toilets and free WiFi. Drivers provide expert commentary in English, and multilingual headsets are available in Spanish, Mandarin and Japanese. Tours include a stunning scenic cruise and a range of lunch options.
awesomeNZ runs sightseeing day tours to Milford Sound by glass-roof coach with English commentary and free Wi-Fi. The tours include an Encounter Cruise – one of the longest and most in depth cruises available, with roving nature guides helping you spot the amazing wildlife on show in the fiord. The cruise lasts 2 hours 15 minutes and includes a free picnic lunch in summer or free hot buffet lunch in winter.
Find out more about Milford Sound Tours.
Milford Sound is 295km from Queenstown (4 hr 15 min) and 121km from Te Anau (2 hr 15 min). Traffic is heavy at peak times. Ensure you have enough food and petrol as there are no shops or petrol stations between Te Anau and Milford Sound. There are toilets at Knobs Flat and The Divide. Mobile reception along the Milford Road is limited. For safety, check Milford Road status info, drive to the conditions (including fitting snow chains in winter), and follow all road signs.
If you are an independent traveller making your way around New Zealand, check out InterCity® for the largest bus network throughout the country. Travelling by bus is a popular choice for many New Zealanders and fares on all InterCity® services start from just $1 (+ booking fee), making it one of the most economical travel options.
InterCity also offers a popular range of New Zealand bus passes for travellers on a budget. FlexiPass is the most popular and used by backpackers and regular travellers alike.
The pass is based on hours of travel and provides access to the entire national network of InterCity's services as well as sightseeing day trips to all the main attractions, including Milford Sound.
Another popular transport pass is TravelPass which provides nationwide bus travel on pre-planned routes with bonus day tours. InterCity bus passes are valid for 12 months, giving you the freedom to decide where you want to go and travel at your own pace.