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Driving to Milford Sound?

North Bethesda...
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Driving to Milford Sound?

Hello,

My husband and I are departing for New Zealand tomorrow!

We want to visit Milford Sound sometime in the next seven days. I am wondering if we should try driving on our own or if we are better off with a bus/cruise tour? I have heard that driving at this time of year can be a challenge. We are from the North East, so not strange to driving in snow/ice, but want to be cautious.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

New Zealand
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1. Re: Driving to Milford Sound?

It's always smart to ask :)

The road is challenging and yes, taking the bus is recommended at this time of year. Snow is fairly easy to drive on, it is the black ice which catches people out.

The road has been closed twice so far this winter due to slips and snow - getting you stuck in Milford isn't too much of an issue as you can always fly out, weather permitting. However getting your car rental out would be expensive.

You can bus there from Queenstown but it's a long day at 13 hours for the trip. If the weather permits, fly back from Milford as it is stunning. Either book in advance or take a chance and ask the bus driver for flight details as might snag a last minute deal.

or bus there and back from Te Anau, a much more reasonable trip length. While in Te Anau also visit the glow worm caves and see the short film Ata Whenua.

Milford is lovely anytime of the year, I think it particularly stunning in the snow. Enjoy :)

…govt.nz/projects/milfordroad/RoadStatus.do

Greymouth, New...
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2. Re: Driving to Milford Sound?

There are many issues with the road to Milford sound. Once the road was sealed the full distance, it encouraged more travellers to venture in there. compounded with hazards of winter driving, snow, ice, avalance danger is the sheer density of vehicles all travelling on a two lane two way road in an alpine environment.

The coaches in and out of Milford are not only experienced, but also are required to pass a special competancy test to be permitted to drive this road.

When even just one car comes to grief in the area, it can block the road for al users untill cleared.

further to this is the lack of comunication such as cell phones.

in summary on coach eliminates about 20 cars from the road goes a long way to reduce congestion and improve safetyand enjoyment for all visitors to the area.

there is no law which says you cannot drive in there, unless the road is closed.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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3. Re: Driving to Milford Sound?

Several bad accidents yesterday on the road to Milford Sound. One involved a buslad of Chinese tourists - many of whom were not wearing seat belts! Another a carlad of Australians.

stuff.co.nz/national/7235319/Injured-boy-sti…

New Zealand
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4. Re: Driving to Milford Sound?

The bus was a Chinese tour bus with a Chinese driver - it wasn't one of the many Milford tour buses which operate out of Te Anau and Queenstown.

I hope those injured make a speedy recovery.

Greymouth, New...
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5. Re: Driving to Milford Sound?

The Chinese tour coach was between Queenstown and TeAnau, not on the Milford rd itself. However is still high lights the hazards associated with winter driver and no one is immune.

It is iteresting, that out of 30 pax, only one was wearing a seat belt. In nz, as the law currently is, it is the responsibility of the adult to ensure that their seat belt is fastend Also that of any children under fifteen under their control. The driver of a coach is not vulnerable.

Compliance with use of seatbelts on coaches is realitivly low, my estimate even after telling everyone to fit seatbelts would be about 50%

Most modern coaches have seat belts, however buses seldom do.

6. Re: Driving to Milford Sound?

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