Milford Sound, New Zealand
Nature at it's Finest
Milford Sound is within Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage Site, which also includes Dusky and Doubtful Sounds.
To drive in one way and fly home the other is the perfect thing to do. Weather permitting. If you are coming by cruise ship that is also a great way to see Milford Sound.
Coming in by road from Te Anau, the drive is not that special until you enter Homer tunnel. The Homer tunnel is a one way tunnel drilled through the mountain. When you come out on the other side, you are in a great crater with sheer cliffs all around and numerous waterfalls. It is really something to see.
If you have a good day and can take a flight from Queenstown to Milford, I would suggest that. You can just go to the airport in Queenstown and can often take a flight within the hour of checking in. These are of course expensive but the sight of Milford, the Southern Alps and Sutherland Falls from the air is well worth the cost.
Often considered the premier spot in New Zealand, Mitre Peak in Milford Sound is featured in many books, post cards and videos of New Zealand. Mitre Peak is unique as it rises straight out of the water in a perfect peak and is very high. On a sunny day, it is a remarkable sight. If it is raining, you often cannot see the top. However, the plus side of the rain is that the waterfalls are even more spectacular. I have seen Milford Sound and Mitre Peak in brilliant sunshine and pouring rain and either way it is a wonderful sight. The sounds are very deep with the rock faces covered with waterfalls dropping from the top straight down into the water. The waters are frequented by dolphins and seals. It rains a LOT in Milford Sound.
Milford Discovery Centre
This is a tourist center built in the middle of Piopiotahi Marine Reserve in Milford that is very interesting and worth a visit. The centre covers the flora and fauna of the area and how the sounds were formed. You are also able to go down below the water level to the underwater observatory. The water was not clear when we were there so we could not really see anything, however we still thought that the centre was worth our visit. Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory