For many visiting the south, a trip to Milford Sound is on the bucket list. For the most part, people choose to explore Milford Sound in a day, either choosing a coach trip from Queenstown or driving themselves. Milford Sound is our very own Wonder of the World so it really is worth spending a bit more time there.
To get the most out of your trip to Milford Sound we recommend spending the night at the beautiful Milford Sound Lodge. This way you can take your time on the legendary Milford Road, spend the night among nature and have more time to explore Milford itself.
Here’s a few suggestions on how to make the most of an overnight stay in Milford Sound
Explore the Milford Road
If you’re leaving from Queenstown, we recommend that you allow 5 hours to get to Milford Sound and 2.5 from Te Anau. But as you have the whole day to explore, we suggest taking your time.
Te Anau will be your last chance to grab a coffee or a snack. We recommend grabbing a delicious Bao Bun from Bao Now or a coffee and a slice from the Sandfly Café. If you need fuel, make sure you do it here as there won’t be another chance. Once you leave Te Anau the adventure really begins, the road is dotted with beautiful scenic stops and short walks. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Eglinton Valley – This glacier-carved valley is nothing short of dramatic. It is one of the most popular places for taking photos along Milford Road. With plenty of pull in bays this is the perfect spot to get those Instagram worthy shots
- Mirror Lakes – this is a short 5–10-minute easy walk along a boardwalk with viewing platforms over the lakes. On a calm day the reflections of the mountains in the lake are incredible
- Lake Gunn – this easy loop track takes you through red beach forest to the shores of Lake Gunn. A variety of mosses and native birds can usually be seen.
- Key summit – If you leave early enough you could allow time to walk Key Summit. This track is part of one of the Great Walks, the Routeburn Track. Start at the Divide and after about an hour of walking you will see the turnoff for the Key Summit Lookout. From here it is about a 20-minute climb to an incredible lookout. You return along the same track.
- Pop’s view – Named after Pop Andrews, a road worker who died in an avalanche, this stop offers incredible views over the stunning Hollyford Valley.
- Monkey Creek – Here you can drink some of the purest water in the world straight from the source. Keep an eye out for some cheeky Kea too, but remember you can’t feed them
- The Homer Tunnel – Although it’s not a stop, the Homer Tunnel is definitely one of the coolest parts of the Milford Road. The Homer Tunnel is 1.2 kilometres long and passes through solid granite rock. Have your camera ready as you exit to capture the view over the Cleddau Valley.
Spend the night, sleeping among nature at the Milford Sound Lodge
The Milford Sound Lodge is nestled among native beach forest, surrounded by towering mountains and on the edge of the Cleddau River right in the heart of Milford Sound. It’s safe to say there is no where else in New Zealand quite like it. Spending the night here means you will wake up in luxury in the heart of Fiordland National Park. The lodge has a few different rooms options and powered camper sites with great self -catering facilities
Mountain View Chalets
Relax and unwind as your breathe in the fresh mountain air from the deck of your mountain view chalet. These beautifully and thoughtfully designed rooms have stunning views of the Milford Sound Mountains and lush native rainforest. Your room will include a super king bed or two king singles, beautiful ensuite bathroom with underfloor heating, fridge/freezer and tea & coffee facilities.
Premium Riverside Chalets
These luxury chalets offer you a front-row seat overlooking the Cleddau River. Wake up in the morning to the sound of the river flowing and enjoy your morning coffee immersed in nature. These chalets are scarce and highly sought after so book in advance so you don’t miss out. Your room includes a super king bed and a sofa bed for children, a beautiful ensuite with a luxurious bath and shower and underfloor heating, kitchenette which includes a fridge/freezer, microwave, toaster and tea & coffee facilities.
2-Bedroom Garden Chalet Suites
If you’re visiting Milford with a group of friends or your family these are the perfect option for your group. Take in mesmerising views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest from the comfy lounge, the luxurious bedrooms, or the outdoor deck. These rooms accommodate up to five people: two separate bedrooms with a super king in the master and twin beds in the second room and a rollaway bed available. There is a spacious lounge, one bathroom and kitchenette which includes a fridge/freezer, microwave, toaster and tea & coffee facilities.
All chalets include a TV with Sky TV and free satellite WIFI internet. With many of the overnight packages a continental breakfast will be included and delivered to your chalet.
Rainforest Campervan Park
This is Milford Sounds’ only campervan site and offers an unforgettable stay among the native rainforest in this UNESCO world heritage site. The lodge offers powered sites only for campervans or self-contained vehicles. When you stay at a powered campsite you will have access to the 24-hour guest kitchen and lounge. The kitchen includes all cooking equipment you will need and the lounge has plenty of comfy couches to relax and reflect on your epic drive to Milford Sound.
The lodge has some great overnight or 2-night packages to choose from. All of them include a delicious continental breakfast delivered to your room (chalet guests only). Our top picks would be the classic Taste of Milford 1-night Package or the Stay & Explore Milford Track 1-night Package, both of these include our Milford Sound Discover More Cruise. Learn more about their great packages here.
Enjoy a delicious meal at the Pio Pio Restaurant
If you’re spending the night at the lodge, whether it’s a chalet or a camper site, we highly recommend you book a table at the Pio Pio Restaurant. This is a must do dining experience, in a remote location the kitchen team create mouth watering dishes that focuses on locally sourced produces with Fiordland wild venison tenderloin and Marlborough Salmon some of the highlights. You can see the current Pio Pio menu here. The restaurant is fully licensed and offers a wide range of beer and wine, including many local specialities.
Enjoy a taster of the world famous Milford Track
During the summer months you have the opportunity to enjoy a day walk on the Milford Track. Fiordland Outdoors Co’s water taxi will take you across Deepwater basin to Sandfly Point, which is usually the end point of this 53.5km Great Walk. But spending the night means you can enjoy a day walk before your afternoon cruise. It’s about 5km to Giant Gate Falls through beautiful lush rainforest. Stop at the falls for some epic photo opportunities on the swing bridge and enjoy some snacks at the nearby picnic stop before returning the way you came back to Sandfly Point where your water taxi will be waiting for you. If you choose the Stay & Explore Milford Track 1-night Package your transport to and from the Milford Track is included.
Cruise the 8th Wonder of the World
It’s not a visit to Milford Sound without a cruise on the famous fiord. When you book to stay at the lodge your package will include a Milford Sound Nature Cruise or Milford Sound Discover More Cruise. During the summer month all overnight packages will include the Discover More Cruise which is the only cruise in Milford Sound to include a visit to the underwater observatory. On this cruise you can explore the fiord above and below the surface. Your Cruise will take you out to the Tasman Sea and get you so close to the sheer rock walls you can touch them. Your local skipper will provide entertaining commentary and don’t forget you rain jacket so you can enjoy a glacial facial under Stirling Falls. Before you head back to the terminal, stop at New Zealand’s only floating underwater observatory. Descend 10 metres below the surface to meet colourful sea creatures and learn about deep water emergence.
Explore the Milford Foreshore and some short walks
As you are staying the night you will have more time to explore Milford Sound on foot. This means you could experience one of Milford Sound’s famous sunsets or sunrises.
There are also some great short walks in Milford that are well worth checking out, and of course what’s a trip to Milford Sound without a visit to the famous Milford Sound swing. These are a few short walks in Milford that you
Spending the night in Milford Sound means you don’t have to rush your experience, you can take the time to soak up all the sights on the road, in Milford and out on the fiord. The Milford Sound Lodge is in high demand during the summer months so we recommend booking in advance, so you don’t miss out. On your next visit to Milford Sound, don’t just see it, experience it.See more latest news