Australasia

Milford Sound

Believed to have been discovered more than a 1,000 years ago by Maori, Milford Sound is New Zealand’s wettest inhabited place and one of the most known and beautiful fiords.  Despite its popularity, it is still a wonderfully calm place to visit.  The Sound actually received its name from John Grono, the first European settler to land on South Island.  It was named after the Welsh town of Milford Haven in Wales back in 1912.

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Milford Sound. Photo by Christine Wagner.

The Sound is just about 2 hours from Te Anau and 4 hours from Queenstown and so you could make this a day trip at a push or even better, spend a night or two at Milford Sound’s Lodge to get the full benefit of this stunningly beautiful area.

What is there to do?

Cruise

This is the must do activity when visiting the sound and whatever the weather, you will be amazed by the scenery.  Enjoy spotting the dolphins, tasting the refreshing water direct from the surrounding waterfalls and you may even have the chance to stand under Stirling Falls.  The cruise lasts from between 1 ¾ hours up to 3 hours depending upon how far you wish to travel and how much you want to see.  We recommend the Discover More Cruise which offers great value including a gourmet lunch, an on board nature guide and access to the Milford Discovery Centre.

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Milford Sound Cruise. Photo by missbossy.

Kayak

You can add on an hour of kayaking to the cruise package allowing you to get even closer to nature whilst being guided by an expert.   This is an activity suitable for all abilities and ages and certainly worth doing if you have the time.

Hike

Known as the ‘walking capital of the world’ due to its excellent network of tracks, if you love your hiking, add this to your places to visit list.  The walks vary in terms of length (taking from 30 minutes to 4 days!) and difficulty but there is something for everyone.  From rainforest to alpine vistas, you will be constantly entertained by nature.

Tell me more about Milford Sound’s Lodge

This is a perfect place to spend the night after a day of travelling to the Sound and exploring.  It gives you the chance to experience the Sound by night and more time to head out the next day before heading on….or staying another night!

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Milford Sound Lodge. Photo by jo cool.

We love the Riverside Chalets with their floor to ceiling windows allowing for terrific views.  However, at just under NZ$400 per night in the summer season, it may not suit everyone and so the Lodge offers everything from these luxurious chalets to camping and everything in between.  If you plan on taking the cruise excursion whilst at the Sound, you can save money by booking this at the same time as your stay.

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5 tips for Respectful and Ethical travel

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Tip 1

Travel on foot, bike, bus and train wherever possible when you arrive at your destination.  You never quite get to know a city until you have walked it.  We found a lot of hidden gems in New York thanks to taking only one subway whilst there.

Tip 2

Learn basic phrases in the native language of the country you’re visiting.  This can result in friendlier exchanges, better bartering and you’re learning!  Check out this helpful BBC page.

Tip 3

Be aware of local customs to avoid causing offence and embarrassment.

  1. Thailand – Never disrespect the king or images of him (this includes currency).  Openly doing so can result in imprisonment and possibly the death penalty.
  2. Dubai – Some prescription drugs (including some commonly used anti-depressants) are included on the UAE’s drugs and controlled medicines and you should check the status of your medicines before bringing them into the country (you may need permission or may be prohibited from bringing them in full stop).
  3. Venice – feeding pigeons is against the law and could land you with a fine.
  4. Barbados – it’s an offence to dress in camouflage clothing and you can be fined.

Tip 4

Are you a keen photographer?  Holiday snaps are a lovely souvenir but be careful what you capture.  You should always check the laws of the country you are visiting to make sure you do not come home with a fine too.  Hungary has just introduced a law (March 2014) making it illegal to take a photograph without obtaining permission from everybody in the photo.

Tip 5

Be sparing with the water you use.  Take quick showers, re-use your towels and don’t leave taps running whilst brushing your teeth.