What’s the weather like in Milford Sound?

Milford Sound is one of the wettest inhabited places on the planet with an average annual rainfall of 7,000 millimetres per year. Rainfall can reach 250 millimetres in 24 hours creating dozens of temporary waterfalls and feeding the permanent waterfalls which cascade down cliff faces, some reaching a thousand metres in height. And while it rains on average more than 200 days a year, don’t be put off. Milford Sound is spectacular in the rain or sunshine. Without the rain, Milford simply wouldn’t be one of New Zealand’s most famous natural landscapes. See the weather in Milford Sound right now.

Why does it rain so much in Milford Sound?

Milford Sound’s high rainfall is caused by its position alongside the mountains and the Tasman Sea. Warm winds travel over the ocean collecting moisture before hitting the high mountain ranges of the Southern Alps. The warm, moist air is forced upwards before cooling and turning to rainfall. This continual weather system in Milford Sound is known as orographic rainfall, and for visitors to Milford Sound, it means always being prepared for showers.

Learn more about the waterfalls in Milford Sound.

When’s the best time to visit Milford Sound?

Any time of year is a good time to visit Milford. Milford Sound on a rainy day provides a moody, mystical atmosphere. On rainy days, dozens of temporary waterfalls appear out of the sides of the towering mountainsides. In contrast, bright, blue-sky days in Milford Sound are the perfect opportunity to photograph wildlife. You may be lucky enough to snap seals lounging on Seal Rock or friendly keas showing off their brilliantly coloured wings in the sunlight.

Milford Sound Temperatures

Summer – December to February
15°C-20°C (60°F-68°F) during the day, falling to around 10°C (50°F) at night.

Spring – September to November and Autumn – March to May
10°C-18°C (50°F-65°F) during the day, falling to around 7°C (50°F) at night.

Winter – June to August
0°C-10°C (32°F-50°F) throughout the day, often mild and sunny during the daytime

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