Located on New Zealand’s South Island, Milford Sound is known for Mitre Peak, one of the most photographed mountains in the Oceanic country. Learn more about Milford Sound in this week’s Everyday Postcard from Miles Less Traveled.
After pulling over to capture this amazing view, Alicia jotted off this Everyday Postcard:
New Zealand is an outdoor lovers paradise. With towering peaks that drop straight into the smooth, glassy water below, Milford Sound is one of the most stunning landscapes in the world.
The sound sees an enormous amount of rainfall each year, creating a near-constant supply for cascading waterfalls. It is also home to lots of wildlife including penguins, dolphins, and seals.
Meet Alicia Raeburn
Alicia Raeburn is a travel and food blogger and freelance writer. When she’s not writing, she chases her passions for running, hiking, and all outdoor activities while traveling around the world. She is one half of the Miles Less Traveled duo, a blog focused on local eats and adventures around the world. Visit her website for a complete guide to Milford Sound.
For those who haven’t visited yet, give us an overview of Milford Sound
Despite its name, Milford Sound is not actually a sound but a fjord towards the Southwestern end of New Zealand’s South Island. Its only access point is down a winding mountain road, infamous for its slow driving tourists and gorgeous scenery. While the mileage isn’t long to get down to Milford Sound, it’s wise to allow extra time to pull off every time a hiking trail calls to you.
How did you get to Milford Sound?
This was one of many stops on our South Island road trip. Sleeping in a minivan turned camper, we made our way to much of the South Island’s scenic stops on our two-week journey. It has to be said though, that of all of the places that we went in New Zealand, Milford Sound is easily one of our favorites. For this visit, we camped right down the road which cost a little extra, but the grounds were gorgeous and we wanted to make sure we were up and ready for an early morning kayak trip.
What was your favorite moment during your trip to Milford Sound?
When we were paddling into the center of the sound, everyone was at attention. The waterway is busy with boat traffic, the weather can turn dangerous in a matter of minutes, and the constant ebb and flow of tides and waves makes it hard to simply float. Instead of the potential, though, we hummed along in the crisp, clear sunshine on one of only a handful of days a year that the sun graces the sound with its presence.
While we happily struggled in our kayak against all of the movement a brief break opened up right in front of us and a fin poked through. Dolphins! The pod swam and played with our small group of kayaks for a few minutes, at times jumping between and dashing right under us. This was not only our favorite moment of Milford Sound but one of the best wildlife encounters we’ve ever had.
What was the weather like when you visited Milford Sound?
We visited Milford Sound in November, the Spring of the Southern hemisphere. While much of our time in the country was chilly and rainy, we somehow managed to snag a mild sunny day for our trip to Milford Sound. Weather here is stormy and variable, but if you happen to go in a rainstorm, the guide says the cliffs fill with thousands of waterfalls. It’s hard to imagine a bad time to visit!
What activity did you enjoy most at Milford Sound?
Definitely being on the water. There are a few common ways to see Milford Sound: hiking a multi-day trek that deposits you at the mouth of it, on the water, or hanging out by the port and taking in the scene. We highly recommend getting out onto the water, preferably in a kayak so you have the opportunity for more intimate wildlife experiences like the one we had, however, there are plenty of boat tours available as well.
What’s one thing travelers can’t forget to pack when they visit Milford Sound?
Everything! Kidding, but the weather here is a bit nuts. Bring warmer clothes than you think you should, waterproof versions of everything, and a pair of boots hearty enough to get you through this wonderful adventure.