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Surfergirl Oct 15th, 2018 12:30 PM

Is my plan for Milford Sound Redundant?
Love water. Love waterfalls. Love fjords (only seen the Norwegian kind).

We're planning a trip to New Zealand in March. Part tour, part independent. The tour part does include cruising Lake Manapouri and sail by catamaran on Doubtful Sound.

We do have an entire free day in Queenstown, and I thought that would give us the opportunity to take the all day tour to cruise Milford Sound.

Doable? Stupid idea?

Melnq8 Oct 15th, 2018 02:43 PM

Definitely redundant (IMO), with the exception of Milford Road, which is the highlight of Milford anyway.

You'll be backtracking, so a lot of extra butt time in car or bus. It takes four hours to drive from Queenstown to Milford...and then four hours back. A very long 13 hour day by bus (most of which is spent sitting on the bus!, plus coffee/ tourist shopping in Te Anau, stops at all the major points along Milford Road, the cruise and then the return journey). You'll have already seen the first two hours of this drive on your way to Manapouri from Queenstown, which is what I assume you have planned - plus the same two hours back, so you'll be driving the same stretch of road FOUR times..

Maybe just base in Te Anau instead - a short drive to Manapouri, and about a two hour drive to Milford.

Surfergirl Oct 17th, 2018 06:52 AM

Thanks for the input. Yes, we'll be going from Queenstown to Manapouri. New question, based on your response: What is it about Milford Road that is a highlight? Scenery, I assume? Since this is probably the only time we'll ever be in New Zealand, I'm not too concerned about going down the same road for a few hours 4 times if there's something at the end of the road, or along the road that I will regret not seeing or experiencing! Hope that makes sense!

Melnq8 Oct 18th, 2018 06:19 AM

I understand where you're coming from, but if you only have two days in QT (am I correct in assuming this?) it seems silly and redundant to me to spend that precious time leaving the place you've traveled so far to visit, just drive the same stretch of road four times. For what you wish do to, Te Anau makes a much better base, but I suspect you've booked your tour already and can't change that bit (?)

Having said that, I have no idea what else you're doing on the South Island; its difficult to comment not knowing your whole itinerary.

The attraction of Milford, for me, is Milford Road - yes the scenery is spectacular. It's a beautiful drive - especially on a sunny day (although the tour operators will tout the virtues of seeing it in the rain - waterfalls! - I much prefer sunshine and snow) the landscape is varied, the closer you get to Milford, the prettier it becomes. It's a feast for the eyes. For me it's also the numerous tracks on offer, but to partake of them you'd need to drive yourself as you need time to explore them, and time isn't something one has when traveling in from QT.

Milford and Doubful are moody - weather can be very iffy - I realize that you have to book Doubful well in advance, but if you can swing it at all, I'd wait until you know what the weather is up to before committing to Milford. Just my two cents.

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