Milford Sound has to be one of the most picturesque places on the planet. If you’ve ever seen Lord of the Rings, images of this breathtaking scenery as featured in the movie are something to behold in real life. Now there’s an incentive to visit this place, to get your Gandalf on!
When Vic and I were in Queenstown, getting to Milford Sound was at the top of our wish list. The question was, what was the best way get there?
Milford Sound is a super remote. It’s a fiord in New Zealands South Island, surrounded by steep cliffs, snow topped mountains and dense rainforest. The area can be accessed by road and takes approximately 4-5 hours to drive there from Queenstown.
Our challenge was that we wanted to head to the West Coast after our Milford Sound trip and limited road access meant we would have had to drive back to Queenstown before heading up the coast. That sounded like a lot of extra driving and extra time we could spend road tripping to a new destination.
We did some research and discovered that we could fly there direct from Queenstown on a day trip. Perfect! We asked around town for the best company to go with and the results were undeniable… Air Milford was the #1 company to fly with. A quick phone call later and we had our flight booked for the next bluebird day according to the forecast. Due to our flexible schedule (yep, best part about not having plans!) we could roll with the weather and make sure we had good conditions.
Milford Sound is renowned for unpredictable weather, so we were stoked that we were booked in for perfect blue sky days!
Milford Sound Fly Cruise Day Trip in Photos
If you’re looking for the ultimate trip to discover nature at its very best, then this is the trip you need to take. Victoria and I are counting down the days until we can get back to this part of the world. In the meantime, I’m going to relive this epic adventure with a photo journal of our day trip with Air Milford…
#1 Get to Air Milford Airport in Queenstown
If you’ve got your own set of wheels, like we did, you can self drive to the Air Milford base at the airport. It’s only about 10 minutes from the centre of Queenstown. Alternatively Air Milford will pick you up from your hotel, pick up is included in the tour price.
Air Milford run 2-3 flights per day and we’d been told that the earliest flight is best for weather conditions. If you have some flexibility with your itinerary make sure you ask what time is going to be best. The team there love what they do and want to ensure you have the best trip possible!
Once you arrive at the Air Milford office they’ll run you through a pre-flight briefing on the route and scenic highlights you’re going to see.
The flight is around 35 minutes, so before you board the small plane don’t forget to pee!
#2 Up, Up and Away!
You’ll be jumping into a small plane, which is great as you’ll have a great view of this stunning scenery from every seat on board. Obviously if you can wrangle your way to securing the passengers seat (next to the pilot) you’ll have the best seat in the house! 😉
I’m sure you’ll agree, these snow capped mountains are a photographers dream! You’ll want to ensure your camera is fully charged to help capture the moment forever.
Once in the air, you’ll be glad you booked a return flight back to Queenstown as the flight feels really short. It’s only around 35 minutes each way and with views like this, 35 minutes whizzes past real quick!
#3 Land at Milford Sound, Time to Cruise!
Yay! You’ve arrived at Milford Sound.
Once on the ground, our Air Milford pilot escorted us from the plane to the cruise boat. A totally seamless experience.
The boat terminal does have snack options as well as places to buy souvenirs and bathroom facilities too. But you’ll need to hurry as there’s not too much time in between your flight and jumping on the catamaran.
The cruise is just under 2 hours and it can get chilly, so bring layers! If you’re one to get sea sick there’s no need to worry, the water like a millpond so it’s smooth sailing all the way. You’ll cruise the full length of the 12 km fiord and have the option of chilling out on the outdoor deck area or if you’re feeling the cold there’s plenty of room inside, plus a stack of free tea and coffee to help you warm up.
As we went in the morning we were also served a complimentary breakfast. It was nothing to write home about, a pretty basic affair but it filled the hole.
The reality is, you’re not there for the free breakfast, you’re here for the waterfalls, dolphins, seals, and spectacular views.
#4 Back to Queenstown
Time to jump back on the plane and enjoy another 35 minute flight back to Queenstown. The flight will follow a different path on the return flight, so you’ll get to enjoy checking out some different scenery including pristine alpine lakes and waterfalls!
The whole tour takes around 4 hours from start to finish, so you’ll have plenty of time to hit up some more adrenaline activities in Queenstown. We totally recommend doing a Bungee Jump or White Water Rafting!
Wanna Do Milford Sound? Here’s the Details!
Yep, after looking at our photos again. I’m definitely keen to re do this trip! Hands down it’s probably one of the BEST day trips I’ve ever done.
We went with Air Milford, and just like the reviews we checked out before going said, they were awesome and looked after us well.
Here’s their website details: Air Milford
The whole trip will set you back between $479-$499 (New Zealand Dollars) for adults and $289-$300 for kids, depending on time of year.
We loved it so much we made a video!
Have you been to Milford Sound and have a great tip or recommendation for us? Comment below as it won’t be long before we’re back here again!
If you’re hitting up the South Island, check out our latest post 11 Photos to Inspire You to Self Drive South Island!
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