Visiting Milford Sound in Summer

What to expect when visiting Milford Sound in summer

No matter the season, the world-famous Milford Sound is always ready to impress, and with summer being a popular time of year to explore New Zealand, December to February is a good time to visit the Milford Sound. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Milford Sound in summer, with handy tips on things to bring with you and what to expect.

How warm is it in Milford Sound during Summer?

As to be expected, Milford Sound tends to get the most visitors during the summer season. The mild summer weather draws in a large number of local and international tourists, with average daily temperatures around 18C, perfect for hiking and seeing Pohutukawa trees (New Zealand’s Christmas tree) in full bloom. Due to the warm weather, mountainous topography and surrounding water, Milford Sound can get quite humid over the summer, which means the local sandflies (New Zealand’s blackflies) are most active during this season, so don’t forget to pack insect repellent!

Summer Landscape - Purple Lupine Flower
Lady Bowen Waterfall

Should I expect rain if I visit Milford Sound in summer?

When you think of New Zealand summer, you may think first of sunny, blue-sky days, but contrary to expectation, Milford Sound experiences its most rainfall between October and March, so make sure to bring both your sunglasses and a rain jacket.

But this isn’t a downside, more rainfall can mean more waterfalls. There are several permanent waterfalls in the Milford Sound, including the stunning Lady Bowen Falls near the ferry terminal, but there are several transient waterfalls that only appear after periods of consistent rainfall, making a rainy day in the Milford Sound even more special than a clear one.

What wildlife can I see when visiting Milford Sound in summer?

During summer most of the wildlife known to the area can be seen, including New Zealand fur seals, penguins and dolphins – however, if you are extra lucky you might even see a Humpback or Southern Right Whale!

Due to the fact that the whales pass by the Milford Sound on their migration route south during the summer, they can sometimes be seen in the region.

Is Milford Sound busy in summer?

The short answer is yes. Summer is the peak season for travellers visiting Milford Sound, so we highly recommend booking tours, accommodation, or additional activities as far in advance as possible.

The busiest time of day during the summer is also around midday, as many of the tours arrive in Milford Sound around this time and include a cruise of the fiord, so if you plan to have an extended visit, aim to explore around early morning or late afternoon to avoid the peak times.

Milford Sound Coach Tour
What is the best way to get to Milford Sound in summer?

The best way of visiting Milford Sound in summer is by grabbing a seat on a day tour which includes a cruise, so you don’t have to worry about potentially missing out due to high occupancy. If you choose to drive to Milford Sound, make sure you research and pre-book a rental car/accommodation if needed as numbers can fill up fast, and take care while driving, as the roads can get busy with other motorists stopping for photo opportunities!

What type of clothing should I wear in Milford Sound for summer?

When choosing what to wear for a summer tour to Milford Sound, it’s important to bring options in the form of different layers! A range of light but warm layers that you can add and remove as needed is beneficial (so you’re not too rugged up if it’s warm), and a waterproof or at least showerproof jacket in case of rain.

Now that you know what to expect when visiting Milford Sound in summer, head to our Milford Sound deals page right away to book a tour or cruise at a fantastic price.

Clothes to Wear for Milford Sound
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