Te Anau - Milford Highway
A journey into the heart of Fiordland National Park
Climbing through the Southern Alps, State Highway 94 is one of the highest and most scenic state highways in New Zealand. It takes you through part of the Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Departing from Te Anau the road heads North through 119km of sealed road to majestic Milford Sound.
One of the most incredible and frequently overlooked features of Milford Sound is the journey to get there. Numerous short walks and scenic views can be enjoyed along the way exploring lowland pastures and tussock country, stands of native bush and rocky, mountainous areas around the Homer Tunnel, and alpine herb fields. From the west portal of the tunnel the road drops steeply between sheer rock walls, which are a continuous curtain of waterfalls after rain. There is a further 18 kilometres between the Homer Tunnel and Milford Sound.
Despite its remote location many people travel along the Milford Road each year, particularly in the busy summer season (October to April). Drivers share the road with cars, coaches, campervans and minibuses. There is less traffic in the winter months (May to September) but snow, ice and risk of avalanches make safe driving critical. New Zealand Land Transport Agency looks after the Milford Road, which provides the only road access to Milford Sound.
Driving in New Zealand can be very different to driving at home. We drive on the left-hand side here, some of our roads are narrow, windy and have loose gravel… and it’s not unusual to see sheep or cattle on roads in rural areas. You need to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and to understand New Zealand road rules and signs.
Even if you have driven in other countries, it’s important to understand our rules for driving in New Zealand before you get behind the wheel here. Check out www.drivesafe.org.nz for tips on planning and driving in New Zealand.