Adventures with Esther & Jacob » Food, Travel, & Photography

Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound New Zealand

Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound New Zealand.

On day 5 of our Sweet as South Contiki Tour in New Zealand, we spent most of the day on a bus to and from Milford Sound. This was a highly recommended excursion and most of the people on our tour opted in. It was an extremely long bus ride since we drove around a lake and through the mountains to get there. We passed through the Fiordland National Park which is another location we’d love explore on our own, but it was raining most of the drive. Booo… It’s too bad you can’t control the weather.

This bus was practically our home for the day:

Real Journeys Bus to Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park New Zealand.

Rainy Day at Milford Sound New Zealand | Day 5 Sweet as South Contiki South Island New Zealand Tour.

Day 5 New Zealand Sweet as South Contiki Tour.

A mountain range in Fiordland National Park
Mountain Range at Fiordland National Park New Zealand | Day 5 New Zealand Sweet as South Contiki Tour.

Mountain reflections would have been beautiful here if it wasn’t raining.
Mirror Lakes at Fiordland National Park New Zealand | Day 5 Sweet as South Contiki Tours.

Passing through the valley of a thousand waterfalls. These were just a few of many many many more!
Valley of a thousand waterfalls Milford Sound New Zealand.

Valley of a thousand Waterfalls Fiordland National Park New Zealand.

Valley of 1000 Waterfalls Milford Sound New Zealand.

We stopped the bus to take a few photos of a of wild Keas on the side of the road.  We had just seen them at the Wildlife Reserve a few days before.
Wild Kea Parrot at Fiordland National Park New Zealand | Day 5 Sweet as South Contiki Tour.

Wild New Zealand Kea Bird at Fiordland National Park | Day 5 Sweet as South Contiki Tour.

We finally arrived to Milford Sound, and then got on a boat! Milford Sound is one of the better known fiords and the only one that can actually be accessed by road. It’s about 10 miles or 16 km from the head of the fiord to the open sea, which made the cruise about an hour and a half long. They had a buffet dinner on the lower level and served food and beverages.
On a Boat at Milford Sound New Zealand | Day 5 Sweet as South Contiki Tours.

We spotted New Zealand sea lions!
Sea Lions at Milford Sound New Zealand | Day 5 New Zealand Sweet as South Contiki Tour | A Guide to South Island

New Zealand Sea Lions at Milford Sound | Day 5 New Zealand Sweet as South Contiki Tour | A Guide to South Island

Views of Milford Sound New Zealand | Day 5 Sweet as South Contiki Tour | A Guide to South Island

Views of Milford Sound | Day 5 New Zealand Sweet as South Contiki Tour | A Guide to South Island

Milford Sound is indeed beautiful, but it was sad that the sun only started coming out toward the end of the boat cruise. Apparently there are times when you can even see whales and dolphins. I saw the brochure and was really hoping to see a whale, but I imagine it’s they are a rare sighting. After the short boat cruise we hopped back on the bus to journey back into town. Since the sun was peeking its way out, the photos on the drive back were much nicer!
Photo of Mountains from the Bus en route to Milford Sound | Day 5 New Zealand Sweet as South Contiki Tour | A Guide to South Island

Photo of Mountains from the Bus en route to Milford Sound | Day 5 New Zealand Sweet as South Contiki Tour | A Guide to South Island

Photo of Mountains from the Bus en route to Milford Sound | Day 5 New Zealand Sweet as South Contiki Tour | A Guide to South Island

Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound New Zealand | Day 5 Sweet as South Contiki Tour.

Double Rainbow!
Double Rainbow OMG! South Island New Zealand.

Timeline of our excursion to Milford Sound New Zealand:

  • 7:05 AM-1:00 PM Drive to Milford Sound
  • 2:00-3:30 PM Milford Sound Cruise (we waited about an hour for our boat)
  • 8:00 PM Get dropped off in downtown Queenstown

Overall, because of the long ride, we wouldn’t recommend the Milford Sound excursion. There is plenty to do within Queenstown with just as much of a view! In my opinion, Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound is a weeks worth of travel in itself and not suited to be a day trip. The only thing that would have made that day trip worth it would have been the whales!

Learn more about the contiki tour we took here. We do a travel post every tuesday, and you can see the others here.

Would you go on Milford Sound excursion?

xoxo estherJacob

  • http://www.searchingforsubstance.wordpress.com soap

    love the pic with the rainbow!

    those mountains look glorious. i see what you mean about photos failing to express the beauty of nature shots. wish i could see it in person one day if the photos already look this amazing.