How to Have an Adventure in New Zealand – Day 5 – Magic Milford Sound

The trip is proving to be more than an adventure. If you really want to know how to have an adventure in New Zealand then today will spell it out loud and clear. We drove to Milford Sound and took a cruise. The Magic Milford, Sound New Zealand. Enough said.

RECAP – My daughter Ally and I are travelling around the South Island of New Zealand and documenting our adventures. From Christchurch to Milford Sound and back over 7 days.

Check out Day 1

Check out Day 2

Check out day 3

Check out day 4

Our Airbnb cabin in Dunrobin

We had spent the previous night in a great Airbnb at a place called Dunrobin. Dunrobin is 2 and a half hours from Milford Sound and an hour and a half from Queenstown. The place we stayed at was a cabin on a cattle and sheep farm belonging to Aileen and Ian. It was the first time I had ever stayed on a farm and the cabin was great. 6 bedrooms and a real cosy feel. It gets booked a lot for fishing trips to the Aparima River where the trout are plentiful.

Before arriving in the late evening we stopped in at the Mossburn Railway pub for dinner. As you can imagine Ally was starving. We had tried the local takeaway come supermarket but the food was ordinary to say the least. The fish and chips looked like they had been sitting there for 3 weeks! Let’s hope the pub meal is better.

Ally ordered the steak with all the trimmings and I ordered the bangers and mash. Bangers are sausages for those who don’t know. I liked the sound of the fish but after seeing the fish sitting in the cafe earlier I reneged.

We had a pint of cider each and the meals were a treat. Definitely recommend Mossburn pub on your travels. Good old fashioned hospitality and great pub grub.

Getting to Magic Milford Sound

Beauty all around as we drove to Milford Sound

We were in bed early as we had a cruise booked for 9am at Milford Sound and needed to be there by around 8.30am. I set the alarm for 4.45am as I wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to get there. Milford Sound is down the south end of the South Island and it has lots of rainfall and the road is really winding and slippery.

We were up and showered and had our porridge by 5.20am and in the car and away at 5.30am. I have to say I was very excited. Ally’s first words in the car – “I’m hungry dad.”

The Drive to Milford Sound was to put it bluntly ‘Fricking Awesome!’ It was cool, windy and wet but I have never enjoyed cool windy and wet like this. There were mountains, valleys, lakes, waterfalls, quaint little towns and openings around every corner to a whole new vista. The closer we got to Milford Sound the bigger the mountains seemed to get. I have never witnessed so many beautiful waterfalls gathered together in one part of the world.

Have You Ever Been Attacked by an Eagle?

We eventually arrived at Homer Tunnel. This tunnel cuts right through the Darran Mountain ranges. It only has one lane so there are traffic lights at each end. We had to wait a little while for our lights to turn green.

Whilst waiting I noticed what looked like an eagle flying high above us in front of the mountain. It was floating in the sky like a bird…funny about that. It flew across to my left and out of view. Ally had her passenger side window down and was taking in the magnificent scenery as we waited our turn to drive through the mountain. It was getting a bit chilly so Ally wound up her window. Just as she did the eagle flew directly at her side of the car, talons out in front like it was ready to pounce and landed on the roof just above Ally. We both shouted something indistinguishable. Or maybe it was a scream we both let out, not sure but we could not believe this huge eagle had decided to take a pit stop on our roof. It stayed there until we had a green light and drove off. It flew off and we both let out a kind of relived sigh.

Homer Tunnel – Before the Eagle attacked us!

I had visions when I saw the talons as it was flying towards us of the great beast grabbing Ally and flying off with her. Taking her back to the nest for all the family to feast on. Ally had just finished munching on some food so she was well fattened up for a feast by the eaglets. It was quite fortunately Ally had just wound her window up as who knows what the eagle would have done if it was still down. So I had been attacked by a beagle at Christchurch airport and Ally was nearly torn apart by an eagle at Milford Sound. Scary but all part of the adventure. Of course all this excitement had made Ally hungry again.

We drove through the tunnel and its like the doorway to Milford Sound. It is rough-hewn from the mountain and has lots of water dripping down the sides onto the road. You really feel like you are deep under ground. Probably because you are! It is around a kilometre long and is an exciting part of the trip. As we exited it seemed to open up a whole new world. It opens to a really steep winding road and with the mist and rain failing it was like being in another world. Enchanted magic is what I called it.

Cruising the Magical Milford Sound

We arrived at Milford Sound and the rain was really coming down now. I had been told before hand that if you get to Milford Sound and its not raining you will have a good trip and if you get to Milford Sound and it is raining you will have an unforgettable trip. And for us it was already an unforgettable trip.

We parked the car and made our way into the reception area at the check-in terminal. The actual cruise terminal is another 400 metres along. We checked in and I decided to purchase an orange $7.50 raincoat. One of those plastic jobs that resembles a poncho. It would keep the water off and that is all I was worried about. Of course it looked a little dagy so Ally decided against purchasing one. She was filling herself up on a nice meat pie to keep herself warm and dry.

We wondered on over to the terminal and boarded our cruiser. Or was it a ship or a boat? I never know what to call these things. I know a big cruise liner is a ship and a little fishing boat is a boat but what are these things called? Lets go with cruise ship for now. Just to let you know Milford Sound is actually a fjord (pronounced ford). A fjord is like a bay but not quite as big I believe. It is known for it’s rainforests and waterfalls as well as it’s highest mountain Mitre Peak.

It is an enchanting mystical, magical place and as our cruise ship took off the mist and the rain made for a spectacular view. But not just a view. Milford Sound effects your feelings and emotions. It kind of takes you under its spell and drags you into its soul. All those on board just stared outside for the first part of the trip, bewitched by the mist, the water, the mountains, the waterfalls and rain. But hunger waits for no man and Ally observed that food was being served.

We had a quick bite to eat and then it was time to venture onto the deck in the rain and feel the emotion of Milford Sound. Normally I don’t like doing things when it is raining but with my trusty raincoat I felt confident of not getting too wet. Luckily the rain had subsided for a moment and we both climbed up to the top deck. The rain had been replaced with  what seemed like a cyclone! The wind had really picked up. My trusty raincoat was struggling. The $7.50 value was being put to the test. And then it happened. The raincoat was basically blown off my body. Never to return. (See video below) It had not handled the wind at all. Oh well at least it wasn’t raining anymore.

Ally Takes a Shower

Ally had taken a bit of a shine to the captain of this fair vessel and he had challenged all the passengers to let their free spirits take over and to dance under Bowen Falls, a waterfall he was about to park the ship under. Unfortunately I hadn’t noticed Ally race down at 1,000 miles an hour to impress him under the waterfall where she put on a fair dance from all the reports of other passengers. So sadly I have no video proof. She was soaked through but was happy chatting to the captain about her efforts. She really jumped out of her comfort zone with this one. Well done Ally!

For the majority of the cruise we just looked at the place in awe. Comes a time when taking photos doesn’t cut it any more and you just want to take it all in.

Photo Gallery

It Reminds me of Vikings!

It’s funny but the one place Milford Sound reminds me of is Kattegat, the town and sea made famous in the television program Vikings. The real Kattegatt is in Norway but the show was actually filmed in Ireland on location in Lough Tay in County Wicklow. If you have watched it and seen the sea that Kattegatt is built around then that is what I think about when I look at Milford Sound. Both beautiful.

To say we had a great time would be an understatement. Milford Sound is a place everyone needs to experience at least once. In fact don’t put it off. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are Milford Sound will have a profound effect on you. It gets under your skin. A little bit of Milford Sound stays with you and a little bit of you stays in Milford Sound.

Did you enjoy this article on Milford Sound? Share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter so they get to enjoy it to!

And don’t forget to leave a comment below in the comment section with your thoughts on Milford Sound. Have you been there? What did you think?

If you enjoyed this article you will love my new book. Click on the book blow to check it out!

My new book!



Please follow and like us:

38 thoughts on “How to Have an Adventure in New Zealand – Day 5 – Magic Milford Sound”

  • Hey Kevin,

    Great article! I love how you told us about different places you went to – especially those bangers and mash!

    Sounds delicious. As a Canadian, what would you recommend – a trip to Australia first (Adelaide is my dream destination) or New Zealand?

    I’d ideally love to get to both at some point but money will be the determining factor of that.

    Thanks for sharing and hope to see you again soon!

    • Hi Michael,

      The bangers and mash are great haha! I am actually Australian so I would say definitely visit us here and enjoy our beaches and food. Its the best. As far as scenery goes New Zealand as you have seen in my posts is just beautiful. There are more places to visit in Australia and it is more diverse but at the same time the South Island of New Zealand has got it all. Try and do both! Adelaide is an unusual dream destination haha! Come to the Gold Coast in Queensland for the best beaches in the world!


  • Hi Kevin, Lovely to read this wonderful article about your and Alli’s trip . Have heard how beautiful New Zealand is and would love to visit it one day. My sister and her family live in Auckland but we havn’t been able to go over to see them. Believe it or not, my Mother, at the age of 92 went to live there. She was given a 3year workers visa. Not sure what they expected her to do. She died over there at the age of 96. Amazing lady. Kind regards, Jill

    • Hi Jill,

      Wow thats amazing! 92 and working in New Zealand. Good on her! Definitely a beautiful place and Milford Sound is magical. Definitely go visit and do the South Island. You will love it.


  • Wow, what a gorgeous part of the world! My GF is going to NZ for 4 months and I am hoping to visit her there. Once there, we hope to travel the country. I didn’t know about Milford Sound, but I think I will add this to our itinerary now. I like the cruising option. Ships are my thing! 🙂

    Great article!

    • Hi Greg,

      Thanks for that. Yes you must visit Milford Sound when you go it really is Magic Milford Sound! Haha. Wow 4 months living there. Lucky her! And you get to visit. Excellent. You will love New Zealand! Cheers,


  • Wow! Almost getting your arm ripped off by an eagle sounds very scary. Otherwise, it looks like you had a wonderful day’s adventure. You are quite right that you cannot be reminded of Vikings when you are there. The mountains just explode up in front of you like giants. When I visit there, I will take note of your advice.

    I do have a question though. I know that the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was filmed in New Zealand. Did you visit any of the sites? It is my favorite movie series (sorry Star Wars!) and I want to travel there to see the sites. I am sure there is information about the series, but I am unsure where to find it. If you could help, I would appreciate it.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

    • Hi Alex,

      Yes the eagle was scary but luckily we survived haha! No we didn’t visit any of the sites in New Zealand for Lord of the Rings but I do know part of it was filmed in Wanaka which we visited on day 3 of our tour, but exactly where I couldn’t tell you. It was also filmed in parts of the North Island which we didn’t visit. Definitely worth a visit to both islands sometime and I’m sure you would love it, cheers,


  • Thanks for the post titled, “How To Have An Adventure In New Zealand” Kudos for documenting your adventures along the trips in Milford Sound! I have long ago desired to have an adventure in New Zealand and reading your post today has bailed me out totally on the right direction to go.

    Thanks for the breakdown of your checkouts from Day 1 – Day 4 at Milford Sound! The trip is indeed worth much more than an adventure and is great for documentation.

    Wish you much success,
    Israel Olatunji

    • Thanks so much Israel!

      Appreciate your comments. Glad you enjoyed it, I loved writing it and experiencing New Zealand’s South Island and especially Magic Milford Sound. Yes it was much more than an adventure, more like a life changing experience! Cheers my friend,


  • Hey Kevin,

    You and your daughter Ally’s New Zealand adventure sounds pretty exciting, well, except for the eagle attack. And looking at your photos, I’m convinced that Milford Sound is a great place to visit. One of my college best friends who has settled there along with her family, has been telling me to try applying for a working visa and eventually become a citizen there but I’ve been putting it off. But after reading about your trip with Ally, maybe it’s time to take action.

    I am a nature lover and Milford Sounds being “frickingly awesome” with mountains, lakes, valleys and water falls around it makes me even more excited to visit it.

    Thank you for sharing your amazing New Zealand adventure.

    • Hi Alice,

      Thanks so much for your great comments. It truly is Magic Milford Sound for sure. The eagle was funny but could have been a bit disastrous had Ally’s window been open! I would definitely look at getting a visa Alice. If you love nature you would love New Zealand. Thanks for calling by.


  • I must say, I really enjoyed reading all about your journey. I laughed out loud a few times, too! The eagle landing on your car! Thank the Lord she rolled her window up! But it all really sounded amazing and a beautiful country I would love to visit someday! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    • Hi Nicole,

      Thanks so much, yes that eagle on the way to magic Milford Sound was funny but very scary too! You must visit New Zealand at some stage for sure. Such a place of beauty! Thanks for calling by,


  • Wow! Very cool indeed! Our family was thinking of taking a trip out there within the next year or so. Milford Sound and all it’s rainforests and waterfalls look amazing. Loved the video!!! Will keep this post bookmarked 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing your adventure!

    • Hi Baldo,

      Thanks so much for your comments. Appreciate that. Yes Milford Sound is a magic place for sure. I highly recommend New Zealand’s South Island. Haven’t been to the North Island apart from Auckland which was nice too. You wont be disappointed 🙂


  • Hi Kevin!
    What a great writer you are. I loved the article and New Zealand is a place I realy would like to visit. However, it’s just one thing you said in the article that’s not completely correct 🙂 You see, I’m from Sweden and our closest neighbors is Norway. Now, Kattegatt is for the most part Swedish and not Norweigan.
    I would not care about this any normal day, but since the Norwegian has won so many gold medal in the winter Olympics right now, much more than us poor Swedes, I thought I should mention that 😉

    • Thanks so much Patrik,

      I enjoy writing about things I love. Haha yes the Norwegian’s have done well. I will amend the post to reflect that Sweeden has more of Kattegatt than Norway for sure haha! Yes it is a beautiful place New Zealand and Milford Sound is the best! Really Magic Milford Sound 🙂


  • Such a wonderful story and I can’t stop reading it ever since your first day of trip in New Zealand. I had no idea about Milford Sound but I’m will go there for a trip with my friend and family. It was fun reading your story. Cheers!


    • Hi Jaden,

      Thanks so much. really glad you enjoyed it. Milford Sound is amazing and it was such an inspiring journey. Loved New Zealand so much. Definitely pay it a visit you will love it to.


  • Hi Kevin. I read the story about you and your daughter’s amazing adventure in Milford Sound, I was captivated and hooked on every word when reading it. This reminds me going through the west of Ireland in a cold, wet and misty mornings and seeing that New Zealand is no exception to this. New Zealand is similar to Ireland in every way. The same population, The same cold and wet windy climate and believe it or not, There are no snakes! Now that I read about your amazing experience there, Hopefully, I will go to New Zealand in the not too distant future, Thanks for Sharing. I keep tabs now on your other new adventures and looking forward to reading it 🙂

  • Hi Kevin. Wow, what a beautiful and enchanting place this is…I’ve actually always wanted to travel to New Zealand – I absolutely love nature and what an amazing place to be in! Absolutely love the video you posted with all that cool, mysterious mist flowing through! Sounds like you had a blast w/ your daughter – we sure don’t have spots like these in the US…=)
    Thanks for such an informative post about this stunning place! I’ll be sure to bookmark this page when I do take the plunge and decide to visit!

  • I love how you bring us into your adventure, I feel like I’ve seen Milford Sound now! And no, I had no idea eagles were aggressive like that, what a trip. keep it up, this is a really fun blog especially for those of us “virtually traveling” through you!

  • I’m going to New Zealand in March and this has got me really excited to go. It’s odd that you mentioned an eagle flying directly at you. Eagles can be absolutely brutal when they attack. Did you know that they can actually attack deer and ultimately kill them. I bet that doesn’t make you feel safe, now…lol.

    Sorry, I am just rambling.

    Anyways what would you say are the 5 best things about traveling to New Zealand?

    • Hi Garen,

      Haha yes it was a scary moment for sure! I have seen videos on social media of eagles dragging away young deer so yes it could have been nasty. Wow great you are going to New Zealand! You will love it. 5 best things would be 1. I just love travelling. I don’t care where. New Zealand is undoubtably a highlight for sure.
      2. Lake Wanaka. Must see. It is beautiful and great for water sports, walking and cycling.
      3. Arrowtown – Hiking in the hills around Arrowtown was stunning. And the town itself was so quaint and old. Loved it.
      4. The Airbnb’s we stayed in were fantastic. Every host was so friendly and offered suggestions and tips on places to go.
      5. Having a good travelling partner is always a must. It was me and my daughter Ally’s first overseas trip together and it was a real bonding ezperience.

      Good luck with your trip Garen!


      • Sorry, I forgot to mention the fish and weather 🙂 Nothing is worst than fish that has been sitting for too long. Kind of like gas station sushi. Both of those are something I just don’t do.

        It’s good that you didn’t let the cool windy weather get you down. I remember when I went to Florida years ago it was raining 3 out of 14 days which wasn’t that great for the days that it rained.

        Thanks for the 5 places that we must visit in March. I will let my girlfriend know about it. I know she likes hiking a lot. She also likes wine are there any good wineries around there?

        • Hi Garen, thanks for that. The fish we had was lovely and fresh. The weather was hot but there was snow on the mountains. Beautiful. New Zealand and Milford Sound undoubtably excellent places to visit.


  • Hi Kevin,

    Wow! What a wonderful experience. You make me wanted to work even harder now, to save for a trip to New Zealand 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

  • What a wonderful story, Kevin. After reading it; I think I see some wanderlust sprinkled around me. I am sure you made memories with your daughter that will last a lifetime. I’m definitely going to have to back track and read the previous days – just so I can live vicariously through you. I had a good friend that visited and LOVED New Zealand. It does indeed sound like a magical place. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Leissa,

      I do hope you visit New Zealand one day. It really is magical. Such beauty all around. Great memories for me and Ally for sure. I hope you enjoy the other days too. Cheers,


  • What an adventure you and your daughter had, scary but beautiful. I love that cabin, I am very country so I love that whole rural cabin home anytime. It looks so beautiful there really green and moist unlike where I am all dry and nothing but desert. How many waterfalls did you see and what was your favorite part, if you had one?

    • Thanks Melissa,

      It was such fun! The cabin was great to. In the middle of nowhere with a river and mountains all around. Loved it! The amount of waterfalls we saw on our New Zealand adventure is impossible to count haha! In Milford Sound there are literally hundreds both at the sound and on the drive in. No doubt Milford Sound was a highlight along with Lake Wanaka and Arrowtown. I loved our hike in Arrowtown. Damn I want to go back now haha!


  • Hi Kevin,
    That sounds like you had an adventure! You must come to Canada as we have a lot of farms around where you can stay 🙂 Though the weather might not be that great! Just kidding.
    I have my friends in Australia right now who are planning to visit South Island of New Zealand actually. The landscape and view you posted are breathtaking! I hope that we will have an opportunity to visit New Zealand in near future and South Island will definitely be one of our main destinations!

    • Hi Anna,

      Thats great. Yes Canada is on my list of places to visit for sure. Just watched a documentary on Canada where a couple drove through it to Alaska, looked so beautiful. Your friends will love the South Island of New Zealand for sure.


  • Hi Kevin, Milford Sound looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. This is on my list of must see places. I didn’t manage to get there last time I was in New Zealand. My parents have been, and like you said it gets under your skin because they have been a few times and keep telling me I need to go!
    Looks like you’re having a wonderful adventure with your daughter.

    • Hi Melissa,

      Definitely go! Its a brilliant place. I loved the whole south island of New Zealand. Reall beautiful scenery and countryside. It takes you to another world! Thanks for calling by,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)