The following is an itinerary for an independent day trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound and is typical of the detailed itinerary information you will receive as part of the comprehensive documentation for your New Zealand itinerary from DesigNZ on Travel.
Queenstown to Milford Sound.
South Island, Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown.
Early settlers and visitors to Queenstown came for the Otago gold rush of the
1860’s and the establishment of farming stations, but today it is the
breathtaking beauty of the Queenstown landscape and its recreational facilities
that draw people here.
Year round cruises operate on Lake Wakatipu to picturesque Walter Peak Station including evening trips that include a buffet dinner at the station, travelling aboard the historic steamer TSS Earnslaw. The Dart River runs into the lake at Glenorchy and is the venue for half day jet boat tours or Funyaks with Dart River Safaris into the Mount Aspiring National Park, or a full day trip that includes returning down river on inflatable kayaks. White water rafting on the Shotover River and Kawarau River, the Shotover River also has jet boating and in the upper reaches great white water rafting for families. Try the world famous bungy jump from the historic Kawarau Bridge.
Day trips to Fiordland National Park to visit Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound operate from Queenstown by coach. To enjoy the full Milford Sound experience including a cruise, but in a shorter time, consider one or both directions by plane with fantastic aerial views of the National Park. Overnight trips to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound can also be taken from your Queenstown base.
From Queenstown you can connect to hiking on the Milford Track, Routeburn Track and Hollyford Track, plus there are lots of shorter walks
The Otago and Southern Lakes region takes top place for the most picturesque vineyards in New Zealand with Gibbston Valley and Chard Farm located in the spectacularly rugged Kawarau Gorge, other vineyards that may be visited include Peregrine, Waitiri Creek Vineyards, Chard Farm Vineyard, Amisfield Cellars, Mt Difficulty, Felton Road, Carrick, Akarua and Olssens vineyards. Whatever your taste in wine, there is sure to be something to delight your taste buds, and of course deliciously fresh food and produce to accompany. To make the most of your wine experience join an escorted wine tour.
Close to Queenstown is the village of Arrowtown, known for its historic cottages and museum where you can learn about the hardships of life amongst the goldfields. The village also boasts some great restaurants which, when added to those in Queenstown and the nearby countryside, will leave you spoilt for choice.
Golf Courses that boast fantastic scenery are located at; the venue for the Centennial New Zealand Golf Open “The Hills” and at Millbrook Country Club.
The Otago Region is a popular fly fishing destination and local guides can take you to the ‘special places’ hidden amongst the rugged landscape.
In winter Queenstown is a magnet for skiers who delight in the diverse selection of trails offered by the Remarkables Range and Coronet ski fields. Coronet Peak also has a program of night skiing. For wonderful views of the mountains and lake don’t forget a ride on the Queenstown Gondola.
- Highway 6, the southern route out of Queenstown follows the shore of Lake Wakatipu
- As you leave the Lake, note the Kingston turnoff, steam train rides in summer
- Past Mossburn, pass through an area known as The Gorge, (Gorge Creek)
- Cross barren tussock land known as The Wilderness.
- Views of Lake Te Anau
- Note the turnoff to Manapouri
Driving notes: Take a shortcut at Five Rivers (95km ex Queenstown, 11km out of Lumsden) to Mossburn, join Highway 94. Going through Lumsden adds 10km to the trip.
Dramatic, rugged and remote the Fiordland Region contains the Fiordland
National Park that covers more than 1.25 million hectares. Access is by just a
few roads and walking tracks – not surprising that the Takahe, one of New
Zealand’s intriguing flightless birds, remained hidden here and thought to be
extinct for more that 50 years, before being re-discovered in 1948. Some captive
Takahe (part of the species management program) can be seen at the wildlife
enclosure on the shores of Lake Te Anau.
Highlights for visitors to Fiordland include Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound that can be visited as day trips, or you can overnight on a Real Journeys Milford Sound Overnight Cruise or Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise. Enjoy spectacular scenery and wildlife spotting (watch for Fiordland Crested Penguins, Bottle Nosed Dolphins, New Zealand Fur seals, Blue Penguins & Dusky Dolphins). For day trippers you can travel to Milford and experience a day time scenic or Nature Cruise, or take the full day excursion for a Doubtful Sound Day Trip. Sea kayaking Milford Sound is also a popular day trip. Milford sound and Doubtful sound have their own special features and the make-up of their trips is quite different. Milford sound being a 118km road journey through spectacular countryside to the start of the sound, with its dramatic peaks. The trip to Doubtful sound involves a short trip (21km), boat trip across Lake Manapouri, a coach trip underground into the power station (whenever possible), and then over the Wilmot Pass, followed by the boat trip on Doubtful sound.
When travelling to Milford Sound take time to experience some of the many short walks and photo stops along the way and to appreciate the fantastic feat of engineering that the road itself represents.
The road out to Milford Sound requires concentration so for the driver to have a better experience and fully enjoy their day, consider one of the small group Milford Sound guided trips, locally based with many years experience they will give you a day out you will always treasure. Two options
For a more active expedition there are
Milford Track day walks
and multi day hikes into wilderness areas on the
Hollyford Track, and
The main accommodation base for trips to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound is Te Anau, located 21kms from Manapouri, the departure point for Doubtful Sound, and 120kms from Milford Sound. At Te Anau you will find the departure point for trips to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves that are accessed via a boat trip across Lake Te Anau.
The Te Anau Wildlife Centre, which focuses on native birds, including the rare Takahe, is situated on the Te Anau to Manapouri road.
Activities Te Anau
- Te Anau Glow Worm Caves. By boat across Lake Te Anau to Cavern House to view information displays then journey underground by path and small punt to view rock formations and the glow worm grotto
- Trips & Tramps. Offer a great selection of trips in small groups up to 12 persons with a local knowledgeable guide, this family owned business has been operating from Te Anau for many years so they know the secrets. Options include
- The relaxed day trip
- Adding a few hours walking in this stunning region
- One day guided walk on the Milford Track, up to 12 people, 10 – 12 km, 5 hours on the track plus launch cruise 1 ¼ hours each way to the head of Lake Te Anau