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Te Anau wharf Chris Watson small
Getting to Fiordland
Te Anau Wharf - Chris Watson

The journey to Fiordland takes you through some of the most picturesque and dramatic locations in New Zealand’s South Island. Whether you’re arriving by car, bus, or scenic flight, you’re in for a treat.

How to get to Fiordland National Park

Fiordland is located in the south-west corner of the South Island of New Zealand. The townships of Te Anau and Manapouri provide the main accommodation, restaurant, shopping and services within Fiordland. These two towns are also the closest bases from which to visit Piopiotahi / Milford Sound and Patea / Doubtful Sound.

Driving from Queenstown to Te Anau encompasses a scenic journey along Lake Wakatipu, through rural Southland before arriving in Te Anau on the edge of Fiordland National Park.

There are a few options if you are driving to Te Anau from Invercargill or the south. The most scenic way is to follow the Southern Scenic Route which takes you through some of the south’s most scenic rural and coastal areas.

DRIVE TIMES TO TE ANAU

Te Anau to Milford Sound 120kms (74.5 miles) Allow 2 hours driving

Queenstown to Te Anau 170kms (105.5 miles) Allow 2 hours driving

Invercargill to Te Anau 152kms (94.5 miles) Allow 2 hours driving

Dunedin to Te Anau 290kms (180 miles) Allow 4 hours driving

Manapouri to Te Anau 20kms (12.5 miles) Allow 20 mins driving

Christchurch to Te Anau 652kms (405 miles) Allow 8 hours driving

**Times allow for rest stops but not sightseeing stops.**

If you are planning on driving to Piopiotahi / Milford Sound, please read the important information about driving the Milford road here. The Milford road is a spectacular alpine drive which requires care and concentration at all times. Check the road conditions on the Milford road here.

SELF-DRIVE TO FIORDLAND

Access to Te Anau is via State Highway 6 and State Highway 94 from Queenstown, State Highways 1 and 94 from Dunedin or via the Southern Scenic Route from Invercargill. All roads leading to Te Anau and Manapouri pass through diverse terrain and spectacular scenery - don’t rush!

Getting to Piopiotahi / Milford Sound is via State Highway 94 from Te Anau. Often travellers do not allow enough time for the drive to Te Anau. It takes approximately 2 hours to drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound without stops. But with a spectacular array of viewing points, short walks and photo stops, it is worth leaving more than two hours to get to Piopiotahi / Milford Sound.

While it is not possible to drive to Patea / Doubtful Sound, it is easy to book a Patea / Doubtful Sound Cruise experience to get you there. Trips to Patea / Doubtful Sound start with a boat trip from Manapouri, a bus trip over the Wilmot Pass followed by a cruise on the sound.

BUSES TO FIORDLAND

You will find a range of bus companies, tour operators, private charters and taxis able to transport you to Fiordland, and on to many of its major landmarks. Bus services to Te Anau operate from Queenstown, Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch.

Coach and cruise tour operators run trips to Piopiotahi / Milford Sound from Queenstown or Te Anau, and trips to Patea / Doubtful Sound run from Queenstown, Te Anau and Manapouri.

FLIGHTS TO FIORDLAND

The closest airport to Fiordland for domestic and international flights is Queenstown Airport. Rental cars, campervans and bus services are available from Queenstown Airport.

Charter flights from Queenstown Airport to Te Anau Manapouri Airport and Piopiotahi / Milford Sound are available.

There are many charter flight and scenic flight options available in Fiordland, departing from the Te Anau Manapouri airport or local helipads. A scenic flight by helicopter, fixed-wing or floatplane is one of the most spectacular ways to see Fiordland.

DRIVING IN NEW ZEALAND

Driving in New Zealand can be different from driving in your home country.  Find out how to keep yourself safe when driving New Zealand roads here.