Milford Sound / Piopiotahi

Early Māori had passed through Milford Sound / Piopiotahi around 1000 years ago to find food and also Pounamu (Greenstone) which was used for ornaments and weapons. Māori called Milford Sound Piopiotahi, after the now extinct Piopio bird. According to Māori legend, Fiordland was carved out by demi-god Tū Te Rakiwhānoa. His aim was to create areas stocked with birds and fish to sustain the people and had considered Milford Sound / Piopiotahi his greatest work. Milford Sound was discovered by Europeans in approximately 1812 and is now a ‘must see’ for all visitors to New Zealand. Described as the 8th wonder of the natural world by Rudyard Kipling, Milford Sound was the original great New Zealand adventure, with visitors walking the 55 kilometre path of the Milford Track just to gain entrance to Milford Sound.



  • Milford Road winding down the Cleddau valley through mountainous region
  • Tracknet bus crossing a bridge on the Milford Road alongside Cleddau river
  • A couple on a bench seat gazing at Mitre Peak over the waters of Milford Sound
  • View over the waters of Milford Sound towards the sun setting behind Mitre Peak
  • Dramatic waterfall falling into Milford Sound from a hanging valley

Today, the Milford Track is still extremely popular and the construction of the Homer Tunnel in 1954 has opened up road access to Milford Sound which allows all visitors to enjoy the spectacular scenery it has to offer.

Milford Sound / Piopiotahi is located on the rugged West Coast and is the only one of the 12 Fiords that is able to be accessed by road. At Milford Sound you can find a small airport, the Milford Wharf visitor terminal, the Milford Sound Lodge and a small Café. There are no shops in Milford Sound and visitors driving there should ensure they have a full tank of fuel.

Milford Sound is one of New Zealand's most popular tourist destinations, with scenic flights and boat cruises available to be able to see the full length of the fiord. Located 120 kilometres from Te Anau (or 290 kilometres from Queenstown), Milford Sound is best enjoyed as a full day tour from Te Anau.

Along the journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound are many scenic stops and short walks, also the entry points to the Routeburn Track, Greenstone/Caples Tracks and the Hollyford Track are also in the area. The Milford Track finishes with a boat ride across Deepwater Basin at the head of Milford Sound.

Milford Sound To:

Summer Timetable (29TH OCTOBER 2019 TO 1ST MAY 2020)

Routeburn – The Divide 9:25am 2:30pm 5:00pm
Te Anau Downs 9:25am 2:30pm 5:00pm
Te Anau 9:25am 2:30pm 5:00pm
Queenstown 9:25am 2:30pm

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