1-Day Family Relaxation Itinerary: Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound, New Zealand

1 days

Four sisters falls
Boat cruise
Landscape of Milford sound
Mossy stones with rocky mountain background
Tourist boat approaching the waterfall

About Milford Sound, New Zealand

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Milford Sound, New Zealand, a world-renowned natural wonder. Nestled within Fiordland National Park, this majestic fiord boasts dramatic cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and diverse marine life. Embark on a scenic cruise, kayak through tranquil waters, or hike the Milford Track for unparalleled views. Spot seals, dolphins, and penguins in their natural habitat. Visit the underwater observatory for a unique glimpse of aquatic life. With its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife, Milford Sound offers an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers. Whether you're seeking tranquility or thrill, this spectacular destination promises an immersive experience in one of the world's most pristine environments.

1-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Relaxing Family Day at Milford Sound


Start your day with a leisurely stroll along the shores of Milford Sound. Take in the stunning views of the towering Mitre Peak and the surrounding lush greenery. This is a perfect opportunity for family photos and to breathe in the fresh New Zealand air.


Enjoy a picnic lunch by the water. Pack a basket with local delicacies and enjoy the serene views of the Sound. Watch as boats glide by and birds swoop overhead. This is a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend your lunchtime.


Take a family-friendly Boat Cruise around Milford Sound. This is a must-do activity in the area. You'll see waterfalls, wildlife, and the stunning natural beauty of the fjord. The boat is equipped with indoor and outdoor viewing areas, so you can enjoy the scenery no matter the weather.


For dinner, opt for a meal with a view. There are several eateries in the area that offer stunning views of the Sound. Choose from a variety of cuisines, all made with fresh, local ingredients.


End your day with a relaxing family walk under the stars. The lack of light pollution in Milford Sound makes it an excellent spot for stargazing. Wrap up warm and enjoy the peaceful end to your day.

Attractions in Itinerary (2)

Mitre Peak

Mitre Peak

One of the most photographed peaks in the country, Mitre Peak rises dramatically from the waters of Milford Sound to a height of 1,692 meters.

Boat Cruise

Boat Cruise

A popular way to explore the beauty of Milford Sound, offering breathtaking views of the fjord's waterfalls, wildlife, and mountains.


Local Food and Drinks (12)

Green-lipped Mussels

Green-lipped Mussels

A popular seafood delicacy in Milford Sound, these mussels are known for their unique green color and large size. They are often served steamed with a garlic and white wine sauce.

Whitebait Fritters

Whitebait Fritters

A traditional New Zealand dish made from tiny, immature fish. The whitebait are lightly fried in a simple batter, resulting in a delicate and delicious fritter.

Lamb Roast

Lamb Roast

New Zealand is famous for its high-quality lamb. A traditional roast lamb is a must-try, often served with rosemary and garlic, and accompanied by roasted vegetables.



A popular dessert in New Zealand, Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It has a crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with fruit and whipped cream.

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips

A classic dish in New Zealand, often enjoyed by the seaside. Freshly caught fish is battered and deep-fried, served with crispy chips.



Kumara is the Maori name for sweet potato and is a staple in many New Zealand dishes. It can be roasted, mashed, or used in salads and desserts.

Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is a unique type of honey produced in New Zealand from the nectar of the Manuka tree. It is known for its rich flavor and potential health benefits.

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

A popular ice cream flavor in New Zealand, Hokey Pokey consists of plain vanilla ice cream mixed with small, solid lumps of honeycomb toffee.

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits

Traditional oatmeal and coconut biscuits that have a historical significance, as they were originally made to send to the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) serving in World War I.



Feijoa is a fruit native to South America but is widely grown in New Zealand. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor that is likened to pineapple, guava, and strawberry.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand, particularly the Marlborough region, is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc wine. It's known for its strong, refreshing flavors of tropical fruit and herbs.

Flat White

Flat White

A popular coffee beverage in New Zealand, the Flat White is similar to a latte but with less milk and more espresso, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Milford Sound, New Zealand, is during the summer season, from December to February. During this time, the weather is generally warm and pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. However, it's important to note that Milford Sound is known for its rainfall, which can occur at any time of the year. The rain, however, adds to the beauty of the area by creating stunning waterfalls. If you prefer a quieter visit, consider the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). These periods offer milder weather and fewer crowds.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1


New Year's Day

January 2


Day after New Year's Day

January 22


Wellington Anniversary Day (regional holiday)

January 29


Northland Anniversary Day (Northland)

January 29


Auckland Anniversary Day (regional holiday)

January 29


Nelson Anniversary Day (regional holiday)

February 6


Waitangi Day

March 11


Taranaki Anniversary Day (Taranaki)

March 25


Otago Anniversary Day (Otago)

March 29


Good Friday

April 1


Easter Monday

April 2


Southland Anniversary Day (Southland)

April 25



June 3


King's Birthday

June 28



September 23


South Canterbury Anniversary Day (Canterbury)

October 25


Hawke's Bay Anniversary Day (Hawke's Bay)

October 28


Labour Day

November 4


Marlborough Anniversary Day (Marlborough)

November 15


Canterbury Anniversary Day (Canterbury)

December 2


Chatham Islands Anniversary Day (Chatham Islands)

December 2


Westland Anniversary Day (West Coast)

December 25


Christmas Day

December 26


Boxing Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Driving is one of the most popular ways to get around Milford Sound. The journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound is approximately 4 hours, and from Te Anau, it's about 2 hours. The roads are well-maintained and the scenery along the way is breathtaking. Remember to fill up your tank before you leave as there are no fuel stations in Milford Sound.

There are numerous coach tours that operate from Queenstown and Te Anau. These tours often include a cruise on the fjord and provide informative commentary along the way. This is a great option for those who prefer not to drive.

Scenic flights are available from Queenstown and Te Anau. This is a quick and spectacular way to reach Milford Sound. Flights often include a cruise on the fjord.

Once you're in Milford Sound, cruising is the best way to explore the fjord. There are a variety of cruises available, from short scenic cruises to overnight cruises.

For the more adventurous, kayaking is a great way to explore the quieter parts of the fjord. There are guided tours available, and it's a great way to get up close to the wildlife.

There are several walking tracks in the area. The Milford Track is one of the most famous walks in New Zealand. There's also the shorter Foreshore Walk, which is an easy 30-minute loop.

Ridesharing is not commonly used in Milford Sound due to its remote location. However, you may be able to arrange a shared ride from Queenstown or Te Anau with other travellers.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency$ NZD

Time zoneUTC+12

Driving sideLeft

Emergency phone111

Drinking waterYes

Power sockets

Power socket type I

Voltage230 V

Things to know about Milford Sound, New Zealand as a first time visitor


Milford Sound is located in the southwest of New Zealand's South Island.


It's within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve, and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site.


The area is known for its stunning natural features including mountains, waterfalls, and a variety of wildlife.


The weather in Milford Sound is extremely unpredictable, it can change rapidly within a day. Always be prepared for sudden weather changes.


The average annual rainfall in Milford Sound is high, with around 6,412mm of rain falling each year.


Despite the high rainfall, there are plenty of clear days. The rain also contributes to the area's beauty, creating temporary waterfalls and enhancing the permanent ones.


The temperature can vary greatly depending on the season. In summer (December to February), temperatures can reach up to 70°F (21°C). In winter (June to August), temperatures can drop to around 35°F (2°C).


There are no gas stations in Milford Sound, so make sure to fill up your tank in Te Anau or Queenstown before you set off.


There are sandflies in the area. These small biting insects can be a nuisance, so it's recommended to bring insect repellent.


There are limited food and drink options in Milford Sound. It's a good idea to bring your own food and water.


There's only one accommodation option in Milford Sound - the Milford Sound Lodge. It's recommended to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season.


There are no ATMs in Milford Sound, so it's a good idea to bring cash.


Cell phone coverage is limited in Milford Sound, so don't rely on your phone for navigation or communication.


The road to Milford Sound (State Highway 94) is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world, but it can be dangerous, especially in winter. Always check the road conditions before you set off.


There are several walking tracks in the area, ranging from short walks to multi-day hikes.


The area is home to a variety of wildlife, including seals, penguins, and dolphins. Always respect the wildlife and keep a safe distance.


Cruises are a popular way to explore Milford Sound. There are several operators offering a variety of cruises.


Sea kayaking is another popular activity in Milford Sound. It's a great way to get up close to the wildlife and the stunning natural features.


Scenic flights over Milford Sound offer a unique perspective on the area's beauty. These can be booked in advance.


Remember to leave no trace. Help preserve the beauty of Milford Sound by taking all your rubbish with you and staying on the marked tracks.

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Lightweight jacket

  • Raincoat or waterproof jacket

  • Warm sweater or fleece

  • T-shirts

  • Long pants or jeans

  • Shorts

  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • Hat or cap

  • Sunglasses

  • Swimsuit (optional for a possible dip)

  • Toiletries

  • Travel-size toothpaste

  • Toothbrush

  • Travel-size shampoo and conditioner

  • Soap or body wash

  • Deodorant

  • Razor

  • Sunscreen

  • Insect repellent

  • First aid kit

  • Prescription medications (if any)

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport (for international travelers)

  • Driver's license (for car rentals)

  • Credit and/or debit cards

  • Cash (New Zealand dollars)

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Hotel and/or tour booking confirmations

  • Emergency contact information

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Power bank

  • Camera

  • Memory cards for camera

  • Charger for camera

  • Travel adapter (for international travelers)

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Snacks

  • Travel pillow

  • Earplugs

  • Eye mask

  • Books or magazines

  • Travel guide or map

  • Binoculars

  • Umbrella

Weather Conditions

Milford Sound, New Zealand, is renowned for its unpredictable weather, which can change rapidly throughout the day. It's essential to be prepared for all conditions, regardless of the season. Rainfall is a common occurrence in Milford Sound, making it one of the wettest places in New Zealand. The area receives an average of 6,412mm of rainfall per year, spread over 182 days. Rain can occur at any time of the year, and often it enhances the beauty of the area, as waterfalls come to life and wildlife becomes more active. Therefore, it's advisable to always carry waterproof clothing, even on seemingly clear days. Temperatures in Milford Sound can vary greatly. During the summer months (December to February), temperatures can reach up to 70°F (21°C), while in winter (June to August), it can drop to around 35°F (2°C). It's important to dress in layers, so you can adjust to the changing temperatures. Despite the high rainfall, Milford Sound can also experience sunny days. However, the sun in New Zealand can be harsh, so it's recommended to always wear sun protection, such as a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, even on cooler days. The weather can also affect visibility in Milford Sound. On clear days, you can enjoy spectacular views of the mountains and waterfalls. However, fog and rain can sometimes limit visibility, so it's important to check the weather forecast before embarking on any hikes or boat trips. Lastly, the weather in Milford Sound can be quite different from the weather in nearby towns, so don't be discouraged if it's raining in Te Anau or Queenstown. The weather can change rapidly, and you might be greeted with sunshine upon your arrival in Milford Sound.

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview


20° / 10°

January is the warmest month in Milford Sound, with temperatures ranging from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius. It's a great time for outdoor activities and sightseeing.


20° / 10°

February continues the warm trend with temperatures similar to January. It's a perfect time for hiking and exploring the stunning landscapes.


18° / 8°

March sees a slight drop in temperature but still offers comfortable weather for outdoor activities. The average temperatures range from 8 to 18 degrees Celsius.


16° / 6°

April marks the beginning of autumn with temperatures ranging from 6 to 16 degrees Celsius. The fall colors add a unique charm to the scenic beauty of Milford Sound.


14° / 4°

May experiences cooler temperatures, ranging from 4 to 14 degrees Celsius. It's a good time to visit if you prefer less crowded tourist spots.


12° / 2°

June is the start of winter with temperatures dropping to as low as 2 degrees Celsius. It's a great time for indoor activities and enjoying the serene winter landscapes.


12° / 2°

July is the coldest month in Milford Sound with similar temperatures to June. It's a good time to enjoy the snow-capped mountains and winter scenery.


13° / 3°

August sees a slight increase in temperature, ranging from 3 to 13 degrees Celsius. The winter scenery continues to captivate visitors.


14° / 4°

September marks the beginning of spring with temperatures ranging from 4 to 14 degrees Celsius. The blooming flowers add to the natural beauty of Milford Sound.


16° / 6°

October offers comfortable weather with temperatures ranging from 6 to 16 degrees Celsius. It's a great time for outdoor activities and enjoying the spring scenery.


18° / 8°

November sees a further increase in temperature, making it a good time for outdoor exploration. The average temperatures range from 8 to 18 degrees Celsius.


20° / 10°

December marks the start of summer with temperatures similar to January. It's a perfect time for sightseeing and enjoying the beautiful landscapes of Milford Sound.

Did you know?

Did you know that Milford Sound is actually a fjord, not a sound? It was formed by glacial activity, not river erosion.

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