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Driving Guide: Queenstown to Milford Sound


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The drive takes approximately four hours; splitting it between two drivers allows both a chance in the passenger seat to absorb the breathtaking views on offer as you make your way south. 

In order to make your Milford Sound experience a day trip, we recommend leaving early in the morning. The drive starts out hugging Lake Wakatipu and provides stunning views of Queenstown and the Remarkable's in your rear-view mirror. As the sun begins to rise you'll continue south and into a much more remote and wild part of the country. 

Two and half hours into the drive will bring you to Te Anau - the gateway to Milford Sound. Treat Te Anua as the last ‘pitstop' before you head into the wilds of Fiordland National Park. Ensure to fill your car with petrol as there are no petrol stations from this point on and you will need enough gas to return to Te Anau. There are limited offerings in Milford Sound beyond what the tour companies provide so take a moment to marvel in the beauty of Lake Te Anau - the south islands largest lake - before gathering all your essentials for the day and setting off again.

The final leg of the drive up State Highway 94 is pure magic. The winding road is framed by Beech forest and allows fleeting glimpses of Lake Te Anau; ensure your camera batteries are fully charged so you can capture the beauty. Before reaching Milford Sound you will drive through Homer Tunnel. Opened in 1954, the tunnel was once the worlds longest gravel road tunnel; though of course, it has since been sealed. 

Arriving in Milford Sound, the towering cliffs and endless fiords are other-worldly and will take your breath away instantly. Spend the day cruising the fiords, taking pictures, and absorbing scenery you simply cannot experience anywhere else in the world.

Absorbing the spectacular landscape this part of New Zealand has to offer is sure to leave you feeling overwhelmed with wonder. Staysouth luxury accommodation is a welcome place to rest your souls after such an experience. Choose from the extensive Staysouth property portfolio – Managers of Queenstown's premium luxury accommodation, and enjoy a restful sleep after all your driving.

*Please remember to drive to the conditions and the speed limit, and if there's a lot of traffic behind you, let them pass.

Check the Queenstown to Milford Sound Road Status here.

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