The Milford Road – an unforgettable journey
If you’d prefer to make your own way to Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most picturesque drive is a truly memorable experience. It’s an unforgettable journey into the heart of Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area. Some of Fiordland’s most striking and significant features are showcased along this route so be sure to allow plenty of time for short walks and photo opportunities along the way.
You can download the Road to Milford Sound Map which also includes the Milford Sound Cruise map.
The Milford Road is an alpine road with many places to stop, explore and take in the views. From May to September, winter driving conditions apply and you are required to carry snow chains. No petrol stations are available past Te Anau, so fill up before you leave.
Weather conditions on the Milford Road are changeable so please call into one of our visitor centres in Queenstown or Te Anau, or visit www.milfordroad.co.nz for the latest road status information.
Estimated Travel Times
|From – To
|Queenstown to Milford Sound
|Queenstown to Te Anau
|Te Anau to Milford Sound
|Invercargill to Te Anau
|Dunedin to Te Anau
For more information on driving in New Zealand including detailed maps, directions and travelling times, visit the AA Travel website.
Milford Sound Car Parking
Parking in the main Milford Sound car park costs $10 per hour.
- You must pre-pay by credit card on arrival.
- If required you can top up your car parking payment in the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal.
- The main car park is a 10 minute walk from the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal.
- Most cruise durations range from 1 hr 30 mins up to 4 hrs 30 mins not including the overnight cruise options.
- There are a limited number of free car parks in the Deepwater Basin Park & Ride area, situated about 2 kms from the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, with a complimentary shuttle service departing every 15 to 20 minutes to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal. Allow an extra 30 minutes on your travel time if you choose this option.
If you choose to drive to Milford Sound please allow at least 1 to 1.5 hours prior to your cruise departure to find a car park and make your way to the Milford Sound Visitor Terminal to check-in 20 minutes prior to your cruise departure.
As an alternative to paying for parking, you have the option to travel to Milford Sound from Queenstown and Te Anau by coach on one of our Milford Sound Coach & Cruise day trips – you’ll save on both money and hassle!
For further information about car parking, please visit milfordsoundtourism.nz.
Te Anau – a township of tranquil beauty
The attractive town of Te Anau is nestled on the southern shores of Lake Te Anau, New Zealand’s second largest lake, with a spectacular backdrop of Mt Luxmore and the Murchison mountains. Lake Te Anau covers over 300 square kilometres and has 500 kilometres of uninhabited shoreline.
Te Anau is the ‘Gateway to Fiordland’ being the closest town to Milford Sound. The Fiordland National Park is home to three of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks putting Te Anau firmly on the map as ‘The Walking Capital of the World’. Fiordland is home to the Milford Track, Kepler Track and Routeburn Track.
Take time to stop at the Southern Discoveries Te Anau Visitor Centre on Lakefront Drive to book your experience and for up-to-date weather and road conditions.
The Homer Tunnel is a 1.2 kilometre long road tunnel which opened in 1954. It took nearly 20 years to complete, linking Milford Sound to Te Anau and Queenstown through the Darran Mountain range at the Homer Saddle. Before then, Milford Sound was inaccessible by road. State Highway 94 now passes through the tunnel at a 1 in 10 gradient down to the western portal, and although the tunnel is wide enough for a bus and small vehicle to pass, traffic lights now operate to control traffic flow.
As well as the famous multi-day walks in the Fiordland National Park, there are a number of short walks along the Milford Road. You can find our recommended day walks here.