Meet the locals – Milford Sound Wildlife

There’s a huge array of wildlife that thrives in our little corner of the world. Because Milford Sound is surrounded by the wilderness that is Fiordland National Park, many of the rainforests, fiords, mountains and valleys here have little contact with the outside world – helping our most rare and endangered species to flourish.

We’ve put together a bit of a list of some of our favourite Milford Sound wildlife, including where your best chances of spotting them are.

Milford sound wildlife penguin

Rare penguins

One of the rarest penguins in the world can be found in and around Milford Sound – the Fiordland Crested Penguin.  Distinctive because of their broad yellow eyebrow stripe, they weigh up to 4kg and are incredibly timid. They can be seen in and around Milford Sound, but luck will have to be on your side.

Spot them: On a Milford Sound boat-cruise or kayak tour

New Zealand Fur Seals

Often found sunbathing on the rocky outcrops that dot Milford Sound, this species is a pointy-nosed seal with long whiskers and a blubbery body covered with two layers of fur. Curious and a bit cheeky, New Zealand fur seal pups are gorgeous to look at.

Spot them: On a Milford Sound boat-cruise or kayak tour

Kea

So many of our guests fall in love with our kea bird! The world’s only alpine parrot, the kea is one of the most intelligent birds and their highly social and curious nature is incredibly endearing. They have been known to pick at the rubber on car windows, the bootlaces of hikers, picnic lunches; any object that they find novel and interesting! We have a number of resident Kea here at Milford Sound Lodge and their antics are hilarious.

Spot them: Around the lodge if you’re lucky or nearby the Homer Tunnel on the Milford Road.

Hector’s Dolphin

Only found in New Zealand waters, this unique-looking dolphin is one of the smallest in the world. It has a round dorsal fin and distinctive black and white markings on a grey body. Incredibly rare, distribution is patchy but they are sometimes seen in Milford Sound. More commonly seen is the bottlenose dolphin.

Spot them: on a Milford Sound boat-cruise or kayak tour

Blue Duck

Incredibly rare, New Zealand’s native Blue Duck – or ‘whio’ – is usually only found on remote rivers. They have large webbed feet, and grey/blue plumage. If you catch sight of a Blue Duck, you’re allowed to get excited – many kiwis haven’t even seen this bird in the flesh!

Spot them: Near waterways in the Eglinton Valley, at the start of the Milford Road

Milford sound wildlife robin

Tomtit, bellbird, robin

The tomtit and robin are similar – tiny in size, they are found only in New Zealand and are friendly and trusting.  The robin has light-grey feathers, while the tomtit has a darker head with grey and yellow around its belly. Both have stable populations, and are commonly seen on our Milford Sound Lodge nature walks, free during summer. The Bellbird can be recognised by its beautiful song; well-camouflaged, it is often hard to spot amongst the forest canopy.

Spot them: In and around Milford Sound Lodge or on one of our many day walks.

Learn more about Milford Sound wildlife here.