The Milford Road
The Milford Road offers a spectacular journey into the heart of the Fiordland National Park. The trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound is 2 hours 30 minutes driving, but it’s best to allow more time to stop and go for short walks at the many points of interest along this magnificent alpine highway. There are no fuel stations, or any cell phone coverage beyond Te Anau.
This beautiful valley is glaciated with steep sides and a flat floor. It’s between half a kilometre to two kilometres wide and has a shingle riverbed floor which is constantly being changed by the Eglinton River.
Small tarns (mountain lakes) on the roadside provide outstanding reflections in calm weather of the Earl Mountains. The lakes are an easy five minute stroll along the side of lakes and back up to the main road.
A good stopping off point where interpretation panels show the effect of avalanches on the Milford Road and provide information on the wildlife of the Eglinton Valley. Visitor amenities include toilets and telephone (card only).
This is the lowest east-west pass in the Southern Alps (531 metres) and marks the start of the Routeburn, Caples and Greenstone Tracks. Shelter and toilets are provided.
Hollyford Valley Lookout (Pop’s View)
This spot provides spectacular roadside views down the Hollyford Valley.
There’s a good chance that you will see kea (mountain parrot) in the car park or whio (blue duck) in this pristine creek. Take a sip of the water of eternal youth from the stream while surrounded by wonderful views of the upper Hollyford Valley.
At an altitude of 945 metres above sea level and 1.2 kilometres in length, the unlined road tunnel allows access through sheer rock to Milford Sound with a gradient of 1 in 10. Completed in 1953, traffic lights control traffic flows through the tunnel and can create delays.
A 15 minute loop track takes you through temperate rainforest to view spectacular rock chasms and waterfalls formed by the rushing waters of the Cleddau River. The Chasm is at its roaring best just after or during rainfall.
Native New Zealand birds flourish in Milford Sound. Tuis, bellbirds, kea and kereru are often spotted along with sea birds including gulls, shags and oystercatchers as the fiord is an ideal breeding ground. New Zealand fur seals bask lazily on the rocks while bottlenose dolphins, Fiordland crested penguins and little blue penguins are also at home in the fiord which is a marine reserve.
There are numerous walking or hiking options within the Fiordland National Park. For more advanced tracks, please fill in an intentions form at the Department of Conservation (DOC) office in Te Anau