The sign says “allow two hours” to drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound but there is so much to stop for along the way that it could easily take far longer than that!
Opportunities for photos abound. One of my favourite spots is the vast Eglinton Valley, enclosed by beech-forested mountains on three sides and almost perfectly flat as far as the eye can see into the distance. It is hard to believe this valley was once filled with ice! The valley played was used to depict the Misty Mountains in the Lord of the Rings movies.
Lake Gunn is a beautiful, tranquil place, just before the alpine divide ,where the road heads uphill towards the Hollyford Valley. It’s mostly missed by those who pass by without exploring, but it’s a great stop for a picnic. On a still day the reflections in the water are beautiful.
Just past the turn to the Lower Hollyford Valley is Falls Creek waterfall. A pedestrian bridge allows us to view the falls up close, but we can also scramble down a path to get close to the tumbling, aqua blue Hollyford River.
After passing through the Homer Tunnel, the view of the Cleddau Valley below is simply awesome. On a dry day it is spectacularly rugged and massive; when it’s raining, the distant view is not so clear of course, but the towering cliffs all around us are awash with cascading waterfalls, an extraordinary sight.
They’ve recently provided two new roadside pull-outs on the descent from the tunnel and this allows us to safely stop to take in the sheer size of this amazing landscape. Not to be missed on any visit to his corner of the South Island!