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Finding Milford Sound’s Best Photography Hot Spots

The morning sun aluminates peaks, perfectly mirrored in the calm Milford Sound.

The best places for the most beautiful Milford Sound photos

Mother Nature really outdid herself in this little corner of the world. Here in the South Island of New Zealand, Milford Sound’s stunning natural beauty offers incredible photo opportunities to capture around every corner.

But there are a few special spots and angles that any photographer - professional or amateur will want to snap when they visit here.

Here is a list of Milford Sound’s best photography locations.

EGLINTON VALLEY

On the road to Milford Sound, this beautiful glaciated valley with steep sides and a flat floor is a great start to your Milford Sound photography escape. It varies in width and has a shingle riverbed floor which is constantly changed by the flow of the Eglinton River.

The Milford Road is great for photography, but with lots of narrow sections and sharp corners, it can be a dangerous stop. The Eglinton Valley is a perfect place to stop as the straight, wide section of road provides plenty of safe car parking spots.

MIRROR LAKES

Also on the way to Milford Sound, you will find the beautiful photo stop of Mirror Lakes. These small tarns (mountain lakes) on the roadside provide outstanding reflections of the opposite Earl Mountains and in calm weather, the perfect reflection makes for magical photos. The lakes are an easy five-minute stroll along from the main road.

MILFORD SOUND PIER

You’ll get picture-perfect shots by day, and even better shots at sunrise and sunset down at the Milford Sound pier. Milford Sound pier is where all the action happens as the many cruise boats come and go throughout the day. Most people come here for a day visit and miss out on the most spectacular time of the day – sunset. 

For a very short period every day, the burning orange rays of the setting sun behind the fiord gives you the opportunity to capture a once-in-a-lifetime shot. Sometimes these rays break through low clouds – and the effect is stunning!

Mitre Peak is the most popular spot for photographers who visit Milford Sound. The best way to ensure you capture that stunning sunset Milford Sound photo is to spend the night at Milford Sound Lodge.

FRASERS BEACH AT LAKE MANAPOURI

This beautiful beach is a great spot for sunset photography. Manapouri is a 20-minute drive from Te Anau and its lake is often referred to as one of New Zealand’s most picturesque. 

A scattering of islands and rocky outcrops dot the lake and the immense mountain ranges of the Fiordland in the far distance make for stunning photography. The light is ever-changing and an array of photography is possible when clouds, sunshine and layered mountain ranges come together.

MT LUXMORE

Mt Luxmore is the first big hike on the Kepler Track. And while it may be a hard slog to get to the summit, the views from the top are worth it. From Mt Luxmore, you see over Lake Te Anau, the township of Te Anau and the vast Fiordland wilderness.

The hike to Mt Luxmore makes a great day walk or you can take the easy option and arrive by helicopter. Carry your wide zoom lens to capture the panoramic views. If you like birdlife and want to photograph some of New Zealand’s rarest birds, Fiordland National Park is the place.

LAKE MARIAN

Just a kilometre down the Hollyford Road, the beautiful Lake Marian Track (3 hrs return) offers quintessential Fiordland shots. You’ll find a swingbridge over the beautiful Marian Valley, beech forest and wildlife. Everything there is to love about this pristine region, captured in your lens as a lifelong memory.

MILFORD SOUND CRUISE OR DOUBTFUL SOUND CRUISE

The most popular activity to do in Fiordland is to take a cruise on Milford or Doubtful Sound. And if you are a photographer, don’t miss this. From a scenic cruise boat, you can capture the towering mountains, the lush forest and the powerful waterfalls. 

No Milford Sound photography trip would be complete without waterfall photography. And onboard a cruise, the ideal place to view and shoot some of our favourite falls – the Lady Elizabeth Bowen Falls, Stirling Falls and Four Sisters (only seen on rainy days).

Be sure to carry wet weather gear for your camera and lens. Milford Sound is one of the wettest places on the planet so there’s a good chance you’ll get a bit wet.

NIGHT SKY PHOTOGRAPHY FROM MILFORD SOUND LODGE

Deep within Fiordland National Park, clear dark skies and lack of light pollution provide one of the most spectacular displays of the night sky. To capture this breathtaking phenomenon, spend the night at Milford Sound Lodge and go for a walk once night falls. The Milky Way galaxy is most visible in winter and autumn but any night you are sure to capture something amazing.