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5 Reasons to Visit Milford Sound in Winter

A helicopter sits on tussocks next Milford Sound from a scenic flight.

Winter is a special time in Milford Sound. If you are thinking about visiting Milford Sound in June or July, don’t be put off by colder temperatures, it is well worth the effort of a few extra layers!

Fewer people, impressive weather and waterfalls at full-throttle are just a few of the things we love about Milford Sound during the cooler months.

Here are five reasons why you should visit Milford Sound this winter.

1.  You’ll have the place (pretty much) to yourself

During the summer months, Milford Sound is a popular place, and the road and cruise terminal can get busy. From April onwards, we see fewer visitors and things get a little more chilled out. The sights and experiences are just as amazing, but you’ll have many of them to yourself.

2.  Fiordland’s glorious winter weather

Think that fine, sunny weather is a prerequisite for a visit to our World Heritage site? When it comes to Milford Sound, think again. Extreme weather patterns define the geography of this place, and wildly changeable weather is common throughout the year. Adding to the drama of the landscape, Fiordland sees around 200 wet days per year. Why is that a good thing, you might ask? See reason number 3…

3.  Waterfalls in all their glory

Milford Sound comes to life during torrential rain. Enormous granite cliffs are suddenly covered by great rivers of rainwater, scouring the sides of the mountains in huge, flowing ribbons. Both the Bowen and Sutherland Falls are at their most vibrant after heavy rainfall. Feeling the spray of a Milford Sound waterfall as it thunders down a cliff face is something pretty special, and is something that is possible when you take a cruise on Milford Sound. 

But it's not just Milford Sound that comes to life when the heavens open; the Milford Road, one of the world’s most stunning drives, is also at its moody, misty best. At higher altitudes, rain falls as snow, dusting the tops of local mountains in a stark white; turning Milford into a winter wonderland.

4.  A photographer’s dream

Wildlife – both in and around the water – thrives in Milford Sound. During the winter months, guests are often delighted to be able to enjoy pods of dolphins, fur seals and even the odd whale without the hustle and bustle of high season. Photographers will love not needing to compete with others for the perfect shot, and because boat cruise timetables are pared back in the winter months, there's a lower chance of another boat getting in your photo. Back on land, soak up opportunities to take photos of the kea or weka – they seem to be more confident when there are fewer people around.

5.  Cosy winter accommodation in Milford Sound

Milford Sound Lodge’s Riverside Chalets are our most popular accommodation options during the winter months. King-size beds, grand views, your own kitchenette and even a bath (BYO bubbles) makes coming back to your room at the end of a day’s exploring absolute bliss. We think there’s nothing better than being cosied up in your chalet at night when the wind is howling and the rain is pouring, especially when you’re deep within a national park!

We’ll see you this winter in Milford Sound! Discover accommodation at Milford Sound Lodge.