Milford Sound is surely one of the wonders of New Zealand. This picturesque fjord is a must on any trip to the South Island. The road to Milford Sound is more than a hundred kilometers of magnificent New Zealand scenery that will captivate every photographer.
What is Milford Sound?
Milford Sound is one of the most famous fjords in New Zealand’s Fjordland National Park. Cruise tours of the fjord are extremely popular with tourists, and the bay shore is a favorite spot for landscape photographers who come here to shoot the national park symbol, Mitre Peak.
There are day trip bus tours to Milford Sound from Te Anau and Queenstown. For those who just want to see the main sights without too much stress, this is not a bad option. However, traveling in a group deprives you of the ability to plan your time as you see fit. For photography, this is important, so I recommend renting a car and exploring the national park on your own.
If you’re into photography, a great spot for sunrise is the shore of Te Anau Lake. The northern side of the reservoir is framed by snow-capped peaks, which are softly illuminated by the rising sun, and in windless weather are beautifully reflected in the water. All you have to do is find something interesting for the foreground, and the sunrise photo is ready. Don’t forget your tripod and a neutral filter – slower shutter speeds are needed to smooth out the ripples on the surface of the water.
Road to Milford Sound
The road to Milford Sound is as much a sight to see as the fjord itself. It is without a doubt one of the most scenic highways in New Zealand. Here the mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers and waterfalls replace each other like patterns in a kaleidoscope. There really are so many beautiful places, so I would recommend just having a general plan and just staying wherever you like. Trust me, there will be no shortage of choices. Here are just a few of the options to consider.
Mirror Lakes is one of the most popular stops on the way to Milford Sound. These small lakes are a five-minute walk from the parking lot and are known for their spectacular reflection of the surrounding cliffs in calm weather. However, from my own experience, if even a little breeze is blowing, there’s nothing to do on Mirror Lakes. Covered with ripples they look pretty unattractive, so you can waste no time and move on.
The Holliford River is a shallow but turbulent mountain stream that flows next to the highway for several miles. To be honest, my decision to stop was completely impulsive. As a photographer, I was attracted by the power of the stream and the many rapids and cascades. If you park just after Falls Creek Waterfall, you can walk down to the water’s edge where you have a great view of the river and the snowy peaks in the distance.