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Coach to Milford Sound

Perth, Australia
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286 posts
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Coach to Milford Sound

Reading through threads about the coach ride to Milford, everyone is commenting on all the wonderful sights along the way and the best places to stop (and to use an operator that makes these stops).

I'm wondering if all these wonderful things to see are on the road from Queenstown to Te Anau, or from Te Anau to Milford?

If traveling from Te Anau are there still as many great sights along the way? Like the chasm, the beach forest, etc. And do all operators make stops on this shorter route?

Basically wondering if it'd be better to drive ourselves to Milford from Te Anau or to take a coach.


San Francisco, CA
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1. Re: Coach to Milford Sound

Both legs are very scenic.

My memory of the ride was that the stops began at Te Anau (I went with Real Journeys from Queenstown for the overnight boat trip and returned to TA.)

New Zealand
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for South Island
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2. Re: Coach to Milford Sound

The sights are all on the Milford Road, beginning at Te Anau.

If here in the summer months I think it best to drive if you have the time to stay overnight in Te Anau before and after. If you do drive, please take care. The road has a high number of tourist accidents due to driver fatigue; failing to drive on the left; driver inattention - too busy looking at the scenery instead of the road; and speed - some don't allow enough time to make their cruise, panic and then speed up. Allow 2.5 hours to get non-stop Te Anau to Milford. This gives you 2 hours to drive, 10 minutes to walk from the car park to the wharf, 20 minute check in time and visit the loo.

On the drive back to Te Anau the drive can take 4 to 6 hours depending on how often you stop and which walks you do. All the buses stop on the way in to Milford so on your way out you won't be competing with the bus crowds.

Happy travels :)

South Island
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for South Island
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3. Re: Coach to Milford Sound

On the Journey from Queenstown to Te Anau there is a very scenic part of the road alongside the lake towards Kingston. Some of the coach tours will make a stop around the Devil's Staircase which gives good views up and down the lake. The rest of the drive towards Te Anau is through farmland.

The best way to see Milford Sound is use a luxury coach with a glass roof from Queenstown, do a cruise and fly back to Queenstown in either a small fixed wing plane or Helicopter. If you start this journey from Te Anau or drive yourself it is impossible to take advantage of these spectacular flights through the mountains en route to Queenstown.

Real Journeys and Great Sights are the big operators for Milford Sound and their tours are great, but if you are on a budget I would consider using Naked Bus and ask your coach driver to enquire about the half price standby seats that are sometimes available for the fixed wing flights back to Queenstown.

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4. Re: Coach to Milford Sound

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