Milford Sound Fjord

Stirling Falls at Milford Sound
Stirling Falls at Milford Sound
Photo by: Greg O’Beirne, Creative Commons

Milford Sound Fjord is found southwest of South Island, New Zealand. It is perhaps the country’s most visited tourist destination, recording approximately 550,000 visitors every year. Milford Sound runs 15 kilometers inland from the Tasman Sea. It is nestled amidst cliffs and rock faces on either side that stand up to 1,200 meters high.

A part of Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage, Milford Sound had been a long-hidden wonder before its magnificent interior bays started attracting millions of people from around the world. European explorers did not venture into the fjord entry until the 20th century. Tourists will be surprised to see that the narrow entry, with waters as shallow as 27 meters, actually leads to a 22km long fjord.

Despite Milford Sound’s remote location and the long journey by boat it takes to get there, New Zealand visitors make it a point to see this natural wonder. The Milford Sound Visitors’ Centre offers boat tours that last from one to two hours to those who wish to see the fjord. Tourists can also opt for extended overnight cruises or overnight boat trips at Milford Sound.

Milford Sound also features fascinating wildlife and marine life. In one of the bays, you will find an underwater tourist observatory wherein black corals and other marine life can be viewed. Fjord visitors have also told of having experienced seeing dolphin, penguins, seals, and even whales. Meanwhile, water activities like tramping and canoeing can be experienced at the visitor center.

Rainfall is common in Milford Sound Fjord, which is considered to be one of the wettest places in the world. It is a rare occasion to be able to go sightseeing without being rained on. Milford Sound is about four hours’ drive from Queenstown. Thus, tour operators leave very early in the day to give more time for visitors to enjoy the fjord. Milford Sound can also be reached on foot as the ultimate destination of Milford Track, which lasts several days.

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