Driving the Milford Road
SELF DRIVE DRIVING TIMES:
- Queenstown - Te Anau: 185 kilometres (2 hours)
- Te Anau - Milford Sound: 121 kilometres (2 hours)
JUCY Tip!: Make sure you fill your vehicle with petrol prior to leaving Te Anau. There are no petrol stations available in Milford Sound. Add an extra 15 minutes to your journey as there are regular delays at the Homer Tunnel traffic lights.
Figures are driving distances in kilometres from Te Anau.
- At 30kms into your journey you’re in Te Anau Downs. This sheltered harbour is the departure point for Milford Track walkers.
- At 45kms into your journey you’re in Boyd Creek. If you have some time and want to stretch your legs take the 250m walk to view the waterfalls.
- At 59kms into your journey you’re in Mirror Lakes. Here you will find a boardwalk that leads through an attractive beech forest and wetlands with pools reflecting the Earl Mountains.
- At 60kms into your journey you’re making your way past The Avenue of Disappearing Mountains. While you drive you will notice that the mountains seem as to sink into the surrounding beech forest! This is an optical illusion created by the slowly rising road.
- At 61kms into your journey you’re at the 45th South Parallel! This road crosses the half way point between the Equator and the South Pole.
- At 65kms into your journey you’re in Knobs Flat. The name Knobs Flat comes from the rich terrain where kames and hummocks are left behind by retreating glaciers. Here you will also find amenities such as a toilet stop, campsite and phone.
- At 77kms into your journey you’re at Cascade Creek/Lake Gunn. Here you will find a nature walk along a loop track through a red beech forest and along the lake edge.
- At 86kms into your journey you’re at the Divide and Key Summit. This is the lowest east to west pass in the Southern Alps. It is also the starting point of walking tracks to Key Summit, the Routebum, Greenstone and Caples Tracks. The Summit walk (3 hours return) will take you through native beech forest, open ground of tussocks, alpine tarns, shrub land and bogs. The Key Summit viewpoint (918m) provides a spectacular view of the Eglinton, Hollyford and Greenstone Valleys.
- At 88kms into your journey you’re at Hollyford Valley Lookout. This lookout provides an excellent view over the Hollyford Valley and Darren Mountains.
- At 89kms into your journey you’re at Marian Corner. 1km down the no-exit, Lower Hollyford Road Junction is the Lake Marion Track. From here you are approximately 10 minutes away from waterfalls. This track then climbs steeply to a hanging valley and Lake Marian. This journey takes 3 hours return. 4kms along the Hollyford Road you will fi nd Pass Creek Track which links to the Routeburn and Greenstone Tracks at Lake Howden. From here, 8kms down the road you will find Gunns Camp and 16kms to the road end you will fi nd the Hollyford to Martins Bay track. There is also a short side-track here that takes you to the 275m high Humbolt Falls.
- At 96kms into your journey you’re at the Monkey Creek Bridge and Lyttle’s Flat. This provides great views of the upper Hollyford Valley.
- At 101kms into your journey you’re in Gertrude Valley. A track takes you to a high valley of largely unmodifi ed sub-alpine vegetation. A trip to the head of the valley beneath the Barrier wall is 1.5 hours return.
- At 102kms into your journey you’re at Homer Tunnel. At 922m this is the highest point on the Milford Road. Before the tunnel you will find parking bays at the side of the road where the native mountain parrot named the Kea is frequently seen. The Homer Tunnel which opened in 1954 was once the longest gravel-surfaced tunnel in the world (Wikipedia, 24/12/2010). This tunnel descends 129m over its 1.2m length, has a gradient of 1 in 10 and exits at an elevation of 793m.
- At 110kms into your journey you’re at The Chasm. Via a concrete and decked track, take an easy stroll through a luxuriant forest which provides access to a 22m deep ravine where the Cleddau River has cut through the rock (diorite), carving fascinating formations in this landscape.
- At 112kms into your journey you will reach a view of Mt Tutuko (2723m). This is the highest and most glaciated peak in Fiordland National Park.
- At 122kms into your journey you have reached the Milford Visitors Centre and Boat Terminal. Take an easy 5 minute walk from the parking area to the boat terminal building and wharf. The JUCY Cruise Desk can be found on your right, at the main entrance.