Why visit New Zealand’s most famous destination?
For starters, Rudyard Kipling called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Milford Sound is the shining star of New Zealand’s South Island for many reasons.
- It is the inspiration for travelers to journey to this out-of-the-way, natural corner of Fiordland, a region in the island’s southwest corner.
- Travelers find scenic roads, well-marked trails, and peaceful cruises, combined with the clear waters and the temperate rainforests that adorn the steep mountains.
- There’s more, it’s wonderful place to hike, bike, paddle, sail, fly, or take photographs.
Milford Sound’s history adds to the mystic of this wonderful part of the world.
The Maoris, who first set eyes on Milford Sound approximately 1,000 years ago, believed that their demi-god Tuterakiwhanoa carved out the Fiordland’s rugged landscape and jagged mountains. Milford Sound’s original Maori name was ‘Piopiotahi’, gained after a ‘piopio’ bird (New Zealand thrush) flew to the Sound to mourn Maori god Maui, who apparently died trying to become immortal.
HISTORY OF EUROPEAN SEALERS AND WHALERS
In 1773, Captain James Cook established a Dusky Sound camp among the Maori. One of Cook’s shipmates returned to Milford Sound to establish a sealing colony and erect the first colonial building in New Zealand, in the year of 1791.
THE HERMIT OF MILFORD SOUND
Scotsman Donald Sutherland arrived in Milford Sound in 1877 and became the region’s most famous resident during his 40-year stay in the Fjordland. Sutherland’s dog was his only companion for two entire years in this wilderness, earning Sutherland the nickname of ‘The Hermit of Milford Sound.’
GOLD RUSH AND TOURIST RUSH
In 1886, a gold rush helped Milford Sound thrive its most rapid population growth.
The richest of gold became an empty dream for most of the new settlers. Although as many as 200 fortune-seeking people briefly settled in the area in search of gold, less than ten people remained a year later, when the local gold rush ended as abruptly as it began. After failed oil digging and mining attempts, Milford Sound once again became prosperous as a thriving timber and tourism town.
For a personal experience of a lifetime, here are five cruises with something special for every cruiser’s interest.
cruisemilford When you take a boat trip with Cruise Milford, you’ll be getting close to New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks, massive rock faces rising for hundreds of meters out of the sea and view waterfalls cascade from ancient rainforest high in the mountains.
roscosmilfordkayaks We’re sure you’ll agree with us and the Lonely Planet that sea kayaking is by far the best way to truly discover Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand.
realjourneys We have provided a number of suggested itineraries to help you in planning your holiday in Southern New Zealand. These suggested touring plans include both single and multi-day itineraries to suit different travel times and allow you to experience our different excursions.
mitrepeak We lead the way in small, scenic cruises of spectacular Milford Sound – considered one of the most beautiful places in the world. Offering regular two-hour trips through the fiord and out into the Tasman Sea, giving our guests the opportunity to enter Milford Sound from the outside, approaching it just as the first sealers did at the end of the 18th century.
goorangecruise We offer the cheapest 2-hour boat cruise in Milford Sound with free food! Plus: spacious vessel, family friendly
To discover more about New Zealand start with these great books
Long Cloud Ride by Josie Dew
Josie Dew is a fantastic cyclist, author, and cook. Throughout her life, she has made her living by utilizing her catering skills and has used this to fund her bicycle adventures. Acquiring a taste for travel at a young age, she set off on her first trip when she was just a teenager and today has cycled through over 48 countries. Her writings are funny, sharp and engrossing. Long Cloud Ride tells the story of her adventures on two wheels over nine months across the islands of New Zealand.
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Since winning the Booker Prize in 1985, The Bone People has gone on to become increasingly popular. As his first novel, Hulme takes the reader to the South Island of New Zealand and along the stunning beaches of the west coast. A peculiar mixture of love story and the tale of mystery, the novel works around the relationship of three difficult characters: an artist, an adopted father, and a son. The eeriness of the story is highlighted by themes of isolation, such as when the artist hides away in a tower, alienating herself from society, and violent occurrences found throughout the book add a distinct poignancy to this tale.
The 1 Thing: A Small Epic Journey Down New Zealand’s Mother Road by Bob Moore
The ultimate road trip text for New Zealand, The 1 Thing follows the travels of author Bob Moore along the famous State Highway 1: a main road that cuts right through both North and South Islands, from the northern peak at Cape Reinga to the southern Bluff Harbor. Along its path, the road links all the major cities of New Zealand to many of the smaller, lesser-known towns. Moore tells the stories of his adventures and the activities he takes part in along the way. He cleverly and lightheartedly looks at the cultures and people he encounters, as well as the amazing landscapes the country has to offer. Using his humor, excitable nature and captivating writing style, Moore invites the reader to hop in and ride along with him on this incredible journey.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.