Te Anau + the drive to Milford Sound

Driving Time:
From Queenstown to Milford Sound: 3 Hrs 50 Min [one way] From Te Anau to Milford Sound: 1 Hr 50 Min [one way]

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Fiordland is overflowing with beauty.. rain.. and sandflies. I had heard about the voracity of the fiordland sandflies but damn they were not kidding. Actually one of my favorite moments at Milford Sound was watching a gaggle of young tourists standing in a half circle around an informational sign explaining the massive sandfly population while trying to bat away the visible swarms of the little buggers circling their heads. If you find yourself exploring Milford Sound it is worth it to take a boat tour if only to escape the buggy hell on land.

But let’s back up a little bit. There are a few ways to get to Milford Sound.
You can fly.. if you have the money. [We didn’t.]You can take a bus tour. If you have a limited amount of time in the area this could be a good option.
OR
You can make the drive yourself. DING DING this was what we chose to do! + I would highly recommend this option because you are completely on your own schedule. You can stop and snap a photo any time the spirit moves you! which on this drive is going to be pretty often.

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THE FAMOUS MILFORD SOUND

We chose to spend a little time in Te Anau before venturing out along the Milford Sound drive.
Highlights of Te Anau area include: the Kepler Track, the Milford Track, the Hollyford Track, Lake Te Anau, and Lake Manapouri.
Lake Te Anau is the largest lake on the South Island of NZ and second only to Lake Taupo on the North Island. On the west side of Lake Te Anau are the Kepler and Murchison mountain ranges.

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If you have some time in Te Anau I suggest you take at least a day walk on the Kepler Track. The lush dense forest on the way to Lake Manapouri makes for an extremely peaceful stroll. [Just watch out for those sneaky trail runners who appear out of nowhere.. this flat section of the track seems to be very popular with them.]

Start your day walk at the Rainbow Reach carpark.. cross the bridge and stay left to head towards Lake Manapouri. Once you are close to the lake you will come upon a junction where you can either head to the Moturau Hut along the Kepler Track or Shallow Bay Hut which is along a dead end track. I took the track towards Shallow Bay in hopes of avoiding the majority of the Kepler track backpackers.

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SOUTH ISLAND TAKAHE

One of the most amazing residents of the Te Anau area is the South Island Takahe which can be found in the Fiordland Wildlife Park. These amazing birds were thought to be extinct but were rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains in 1948 by Geoffrey Orbell. WOW! These extraordinary birds are flightless and look like a chunkier cousin of the common Pukeko.

We chose to spend a little time in Te Anau before venturing out along the Milford Sound drive.
Highlights of Te Anau area include: the Kepler Track, the Milford Track, the Hollyford Track, Lake Te Anau, and Lake Manapouri.
Lake Te Anau is the largest lake on the South Island of NZ and second only to Lake Taupo on the North Island. On the west side of Lake Te Anau are the Kepler and Murchison mountain ranges.

If you have some time in Te Anau I suggest you take at least a day walk on the Kepler Track. The lush dense forest on the way to Lake Manapouri makes for an extremely peaceful stroll. [Just watch out for those sneaky trail runners who appear out of nowhere.. this flat section of the track seems to be very popular with them.]

Start your day walk at the Rainbow Reach carpark.. cross the bridge and stay left to head towards Lake Manapouri. Once you are close to the lake you will come upon a junction where you can either head to the Moturau Hut along the Kepler Track or Shallow Bay Hut which is along a dead end track. I took the track towards Shallow Bay in hopes of avoiding the majority of the Kepler track backpackers.

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