The most beautiful road trip in the world? Sunrise customer correspondent visits Milford Sound
If you are traveling to Queenstown, New Zealand soon, I have three tips for you: visit Milford Sound!
It’s a four hour drive which, in my humble opinion, is a contender for the biggest and most beautiful road trip in the world.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Shaun White Experiences ‘The World’s Biggest Roadtip’
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The section between Te Anau and the fjord, in particular, does not disappoint.
Confession time – although I’ve lived in Australia for most of my life, I was born in New Zealand so you could say I’m a wee bit biased.
But in the face of such natural beauty, it’s hard not to fall in love.
To do this trip, I’m traveling as a guest of Envy Experiences, which offers bespoke private trips in a Tesla.
Obviously on a road like this you want to see as much as possible, so the panoramic glass roof gives you VIP views.
Nigel Humphries is the mastermind behind the operation – and my driver.
“It’s so special because you can truly experience world-class landscapes with many changes from open farmland to high mountains and bush-covered hills,” he tells me.
“The final destination is like a trip to Middle-earth and something so different from anywhere else in the world.”
This trip starts in Te Anau, two hours from Queenstown, so most people stay overnight to be picked up in the morning around 7.30am.
From here the scenery improves as you go deeper into Fiordland National Park.
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The first key stop is the Eglinton Valley, a popular photo spot.
There is a beautiful contrast between the flat ground covered in golden fronds of tussock grass and the backdrop of steep, dark, green mountains.
The advantage when traveling with Envy is that you have more flexibility to stop at different locations as opposed to a bus tour, but you also don’t drive, so you can soak up more of the scenery.
There are several key locations to note on this trip, but the biggest highlight for me was Mirror Lakes.
The name says it all, as the water reflects the Earl Mountains opposite.
One thing to note, the weather really has to be on your side to fully enjoy the experience. We were lucky the sun came out.
Homer’s tunnel and the kea
Before descending into Milford Sound through the Cleddau Valley, you must pass through the Homer Tunnel which stretches for 1.2 miles through solid rock.
There’s a spot surrounded by towering peaks where you have to wait for the traffic lights to turn green – indicating it’s safe to continue.
This is where you can see the kea bird native to New Zealand.
They’re cheeky little characters confident enough to get into your vehicle and, in some cases, jump in or steal food – so you need to have a cool head!
In fact, Nigel knows a few of them personally because they’re tagged.
This little guy is called Makmaki which is the Maori word for monkey.
“I never take my job for granted and I feel totally privileged to be able to share this journey with our clients,” says Nigel.
No two days are alike and I constantly have to remind myself that I am going through this part of the world as a job.
After all that, we almost forget that the best is the destination!
Milford Sound – also known in Te Reo Maori as Piopiotahi – is nothing short of spectacular.
The first thing most visitors notice is Miter Peak, which is almost like the centerpiece of any photo taken from the shore.
The dark waters surrounded by steep rock walls make you feel like a little ant – it’s all very dramatic.
Your best bet is to make sure you book a cruise to see it all up close, including the two permanent waterfalls – Lady Bowen and Stirling Falls.
I booked a package with Milford Sound Lodge which includes the boat ride and accommodation in a cabin which overlooks the Cleddau River.
My room had floor to ceiling windows overlooking Sheerdown Peak – a towering mountain that I sat on and watched for hours.
Most visitors travel to Milford on a bus tour.
Some drive themselves.
Others book a private driver.
But you can also fly with Air Milford, but it depends on the weather.