The first sight of Milford Sound is stunning. Sheer rocky cliffs rise out of still, dark waters, and forests clinging to the slopes sometimes relinquish their hold, causing a ‘tree avalanche’ into the waters. The spectacular, photogenic 1692m-high Mitre Peak rises dead ahead.
A cruise on Milford Sound is Fiordland’s most accessible experience, complete with seals, dolphins, and an average annual rainfall of 7m – more than enough to fuel cascading waterfalls and add a shimmering moody mist to the scene.
Milford Sound receives about half a million visitors each year, many of them crammed into the peak months (January and February). Some 14,000 arrive by foot, via the Milford Track which ends at the sound. Many more drive from Te Anau, but most arrive via the multitude of bus tours. But don’t worry. Out on the water all this humanity seems tiny compared to nature’s vastness.