A Brief Description of the Milford Road

The Milford Road follows the Eastern shore of Lake Te Anau to Te Anau Downs where it climbs a low ridge to avoid boggy territory and then descends into the Eglington River Valley.

It follows the Eglington through farmland but soon enters Fiordland National Park, winding through forest and grassy flats. By the time It reaches Lake Gunn at the head of the main West Branch of the Eglington the climate is wet and the forest verdant.

Soon it crests The Divide, after which all water flows to the West Coast, then descends steeply to the Hollyford River which it follows to its head at the Homer Tunnel. The Upper Hollyford Valley is formed by the Earl Mountains to the South East and the Darran Mountains to the North West, this is the alpine section of the Road most affected by snow and ice, it is not thickly forested and offers spectacular mountain scenery, unique on mainland New Zealand for its angular granite boulders.

The descent after the tunnel is fast with multiple tight switchbacks. The Road quickly enters ever thickening coastal forest and the tumbling, crystal clear Cleddau River is followed until Milford Sound.

There is very limited habitable land at Milford Sound and parking can be somewhat limited in the peak summer season, December to March. However Milford Sound is almost completely empty early in the morning and late in the evening. The autumn and winter months are much less busy. Approximately 850 000 people travel by road to Milford Sound each year.

Explore with the Milford Sound Guide

Typical forest in the Eglington Valley