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Little Kiwi Travels
Deciding What Hikes to Do

In Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook National Park is Chock Full of Amazing Hiking

So you've decided to adventure to the 8th wonder of the world, Milford Sound? Get ready for the trip of a lifetime! I am a serial over planner and I've captured everything here that helped me have the BEST time in Milford Sound, I hope it helps you too.

 

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Mount Cook Hiking Cheat Sheet

Hooker Valley

An absolute must do, the best walk in New Zealand.

3h return, mostly flat with a couple of small stairs. Epic views of Mount Cook and surrounds.

 

Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier Viewpoint

Amazing views of Tasman Glacier lake and a great option for very late afternoon or sunset. A short and easy 45m return walk with a few stairs at the end.

Note that the Blue Lakes (rather small and not particulalry interesting) are a short detour from the main track. 

 

Sealy Tarns

An absolute leg burner for those of good fitness levels. 2,200 steps with an elevation gain of 600m. Best views in the park. 3-4h return.

Mueller Hut 

Continues on from Sealy Tarns

Kea Point

An easy 1 hour return hike with mountain and glacier views.

 

Tasman Glacier River Track 

An easy 1h return walk to the base of the Tasman Glacier Lake and River.

Popular with photographers for sunrise.

Where to Stay in Milford Sound

If you're like me and obsess over the best place to stay while on holiday, then you'll be pleased to know there's actually only one accomodation in Milford Sound which takes away the stress of choosing.

This accomodation, called Milford Sound Lodge, is AMAZING! It's nestled inside the fiord on a riverside and surrounded by sheer cliffs - imagine waking to the thundering of thousands of waterfalls outside your room, friendly wekas plodding by and Milford Sound empty of tour buses!

The lodge has a variety of accomodation types from luxury waterfront rooms to campsites, so there's something to suit every budget. It also has the only restaurant in the sounds (though there is a cafe at the visitors centre) and a guest kitchen if you've bought your own supplies to cook.
There is a beautiful walk along the river to Milford Sound which takes about 30 minutes if you want to avoid parking (5 mins by car).

As you might be able to guess the Lodge books out well in advance so make sure you get in early. If you do miss out, or you want to stay somewhere with more choice of restaurants and accomodation, the small tourist town of Te Anau is a 45 minute drive away.

 

What to Do in Milford Sound

Seeing Milford Sound by water is truly spectacular and most visitors opt for a boat cruise (though you can also kayak!)

After much research we settled on the 2 Hour Small Boat Scenic Cruise with Mitre Peak Cruises which we booked via GetYourGuide.
Their cruise was a great length, not too long or short and it's a smaller boat which means smaller crowds and they get up close to the waterfalls and wildlife in the sounds!

If you decide to do the same tour, I'd be grateful if you would consider booking through the link above. I get a small fee through affiliate marketing which helps pay for my website costs.


Though most of the adventure in the sounds is on the water, there are a few awesome spots to check out on foot;

  1. Milford Sound Swing - Scroll down for a video on how to reach the swing.

  2. The Foreshore Walk

  3. Milford View Point Track 

  4. Giant Gate Falls - New Zealand Wanderer has a great blog on how to reach this waterfall

What else should I know about visiting Milford Sound ?

1. Milford Sound is the wettest place in New Zealand - pack for it!
All that rain is the magic behind it's waterfalls so you've really just got to embrace it. Raincoats, backpacks, gloves, beanies and boots - if it's not waterproof then bring a change because you can get very wet roaming the deck of your cruise. And don't forget about your electronics, no one likes a wet phone or camera. 

2. There is no phone reception in the Sounds.
Downloaded all your must-haves like cruise tickets, accommodation info and google map directions before beginning your road trip.

3. Beware of sandflies!
These little bastards are EVERYWHERE in the sounds so make sure you pack your insect repellent. (Fun fact, we refer to them colloquially as “sandflies” but they’re actually black flies)

5. Point of no return.
There are no service stations or food shops between Milford Sound and Te Anau, so you'll need to fuel up and buy snacks and supplies in Te Anau or Queenstown beforehand.

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