In New Zealand, it is the most beautiful road you have to do, unhesitatingly !Ranked in the top of the most beautiful road of New Zealand, it is at each turn, a new visual slap. I was really impatient, so i was a little afraid to be disappointed …. it was’nt the case, ouf ! Let me guide you.
I suggest you a two-day itinerary. One day to go to the end, the campsite and the day of return. Click on the image to access my mymaps
You can get a map with all the points to do on Te Anau in the visitor center, the last city before this long road (or download the PDF version here). But with every plans in New Zealand, it’s not complete and there some information missing that I will provide you in this article. (Missing trecks and campsites, yeah yeah … )
First thing to know, on the 250 km (return) there is NO gas station, so fill up with gas in Te Anau and be sure that your vehicle will be able to go /return. With our Van Nissan hommy of 1997 we did it at ease for example. ( In doubt, take a can of gas if you want to be safe).
What the milfords? These are rock formations between fjords. The mountains can accumulate 1200m and the maximum depth of the fjord is 400m. You can find whales, dolphins and seals if you’re lucky.
We start the road qiuetly in the early morning. We stop at points of interest on the map like Henry Creek, Lake Mistletoe and his little treck of 20 min, walker creek for some photos, totara, mirror lake … these are nice stops but not incredible. In fact, before the big fork at the end, it is not super crasy, but it comes piece by piece.
If you want a very nice track to do at the top of a valley, I recommend the track of the Key summit, which takes us to the top of a small mountain with a small lake, really beautiful and simple. It take 2 hours and half return . (We saw families at the top with young children). It’s like Switzerland.
Just after the fork, there is a track that you absolutely need to do : track of Lake Marian. Quite simple too, 3 hour return but we did it in 2 hours without pressure. We arrive on a beautiful lake lost between the mountains and it’s really relaxing, the ideal place for lunch sandwiches for example.
After the track, we did not go further on the road, we wer’nt not sure of having enough gas. So, be back and continue the main milford road! ( On pictures, the waterfall did not seem extraordinary, so no regrets)
We go to the tunnel under the mountain and … wow! Right after it, that’s where it becomes magical. We have only one desire, stop every 2 minutes to contemplate the milfords. (That’s we do in fact, especially when we have a photographer with us).
We are now at the end of the afternoon, after the two trecks and all the others things seen we arrive at the hotel Milford sound lodge where you can you can rent a pitch for the night for your campervan, or take a room (be careful, book at least in the morning BEFORE to leave on their website, because the same day it will be full ). This is the only campsite in the area, if you do not take this one, you will have to turn back to the middle of the road, and you can have enough gas for the next day, no other choice because no freecamp near the end.
The next morning, let’s go for the cruise!
Book also before leaving your cruise on the milford sound. We bookJucy, $ 45 per person with a breakfast. Very nice, I recommend this company ESPECIALLY for a little tip. There are chances in the summer that you see dolphins, and this boat has a wide and flat front pontoon where you can stay during the cruise, so the trick is to go there from the start to have the better place to see the dolphins. Most people go to the second floor for the panoramic view, and once the dolphins are visible, go down on the front deck, but there is no more place. Wait just after the start, the staff will open the access to the front pontoon which is next to the driver’s cabin.
Book the cruise it starts the earlier, around 8:45, you will have less people on board. 2h / 2h30 in all.
For the day return there is a track of few hours just after the bridge which we were strongly advised: The gertrude saddle route. Expert level, duration : 4 to 6 hours, beautifull ! Once this treck is done, take the road back to Te anau! ( If you do not want to do this treck, you can also do : the hut creek track with a duration of 3 hours, advanced mode, it is on the small car park written: Earl Mountain tracks).
If you’ve driven calculating or quite at random like us, you will arrive to the entrance of the lake with the sunset, perfect to have a good dinner with the last lights.
To resume :
|Milford sound road : 2 days
Book the hostel and the cruisde BEFORE you departure .(No network throughout the road)
Day 1 : Lot of stops at the planned signs, Trek Key summit and Lake Marian.
Day 2 : Cruise, then trek gertrude or Hut creek track, and dinner at sunset Lake Te Anau.
Enjoy ! And thanks again to Loic.naes for the pictures
If you liked my article, don’t hesitate to share it on your social media 🙂