Milford Sound through the seasons 

Milford Sound is one of those special spots on the planet that is a treat to visit at any time of the year. Don’t ask us to pick favourites as we love the rusty shades of autumn as much as the cute seal pups that are commonly seen in spring. Here’s what you can expect in Milford Sound through the seasons. 

Spring 

Milford Sound seal pup

Those doe-eyes eyes really suck you in. Fur seal pups are adorable in pictures and even better in real life. You’ll see them prancing around the rocks and coast of Milford Sound in spring. That, for us, is the number one reason to visit in spring. 

The weather still has a mind of its own with some days that are frosty from dawn to dusk. If you can cope with the unpredictable weather, there are seal pups waiting for you here, and penguins and dolphins. It’s also a good time to explore some of the local walks. With fewer people around, you’ll have the tracks pretty much to yourself. Other plus points of a spring visit are the blooms (stunning really!) and fishing opportunities. 

Summer 

Milford Sound in summer

Get your walking boots and go wild. Literally! The weather is warm (be warned this can change quickly, especially at higher altitudes when you go hiking) and the outdoors are primed perfect for enthusiasts to explore. Nothing is out of bounds at this time of the year. And because it still rains a fair bit, you’ll enjoy those wonderful waterfalls we are famous for. If you’re a water body, hire a kayak and really get amidst it. Or take the slightly easier option of cruising – getting on the water is another must at this time of the year.  

Word of caution, the nasty sand flies are out in full force at this time of year – more than others. Stay protected. As you’d expect, it is a very busy time of the year for Fiordland, so plan and book your trip and activities in advance. 

Autumn 

Milford Sound in Autumn

Gaze up at the skies and be awe-struck by the world’s clearest skies. The best nights are the ones when the skies put on the Aurora Australis (The Southern Lights). The evenings start getting chilly at this time of the year, but get the right clothing and you can stay out to enjoy the night sky. 

The days are still warm and great for hiking – not as hot as some summer days can get. One of the most stunning parts about this season is also the turning of colours – from lush green to burnt browns and gold. The transition is less apparent here than surrounding areas like Queenstown, Arrowtown and Central Otago, but none the less, it’s beautiful.  

Winter 

Milford Sound winter

It’s cold, we won’t deny it. But if you dress right, you can be outdoors and enjoying what can easily be classified as a photographer’s dream setting. Increased rains mean even more waterfalls, best enjoyed on a cruise. And the wildlife, that doesn’t seem too perturbed by the falling mercury, is out and about in full glory. You’ll see fur seals, pods of dolphins and plenty of birds on your excursions.  

Being among the few visitors around, you’ll also have the locals’ attention – we’re talking about the people now. We’re a very social bunch, often found hanging around at the local cafes and happy to tell interested visitors about the history of the area. We even show some special ones around the hidden spots that don’t make it to tourists’ itineraries often.