Our day trip to Milford Sound from Queenstown was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.
We flew with Air Milford, a family owned company which has been running for over 20 years.
It was well worth the couple of days wait due to bad weather. Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in the world, with on average 182 days rainfall per year (that’s half the year people!) so Air Milford suggested that we book the flight for our first day in Queenstown, meaning it could be pushed back if needed.
A couple of spare days in Queenstown isn’t too bad either, see how we spent them in my previous post.
Now, bearing in mind that I am a somewhat nervous flyer, you wouldn’t think that I would take a light aircraft flight out of CHOICE, however, after speaking to my lovely friends Vic and Elaina of The Freedom Travellers who went on a trip with Air Milford earlier this year it sounded (and looked) totally unmissable.
Air Milford’s customer service was fantastic from the start, they were flexible with us changing the date of our booking when we decided to drive the other way around the South Island to our original plan. They also helped connect us to Southern Discoveries, the scenic cruise company in Milford Sound who we went on a cruise with upon landing, so the whole trip worked seamlessly.
So, an overview of the day:
8.30am: Call Air Milford to check whether flight is going ahead, it is, HOORAY, cue much excitement!!
9.15am: Arrive at flight HQ near Queenstown airport, pilot briefing by Hank Sproull, owner of Air Milford and aircraft engineer, his son Antony also flies for the company and flew one of their Cessna Caravan planes the whole way back from Greece to Queenstown!
9.45am: Flight departs…I am allowed to be ‘co-pilot’ and sit up at the front. I made zero input to the flying but watched Hank to try and learn JUST in case I for some reason was required to help.
Disappointingly I was no clearer on how to fly a plane just by watching for 10 minutes. Silly slow brain.
9.45am – 10.30am: Fly over some of the most stunning scenery in the world. The pictures can do the talking!
Check out my video of the mountains here
10.30am: Turn into Milford Sound to land
10.45am – 12.45pm: Boat trip around Milford Sound with Southern Discoveries Cruises. We saw waterfalls, seals and I THOUGHT I saw dolphins but this was poo-pooed by Ben as being the distant wake of the boat. I still maintain it was dolphins. There are often sightings of dolphins and whales in there!
We learnt that Milford Sound is not really a ‘Sound’ but a ‘Fjord’ (a sound being created by a river and a fjord by glaciers!) We had some deeeelicious fresh mussels for lunch.
12.45pm – 1.30pm: Fly back to Queenstown via NZ’s tallest waterfall and over Lake Wakatipu. Benny was co-pilot for the return journey. He really should know how to fly a plane after all the time spent in aircraft museums!!
So we were back in Queenstown before 2pm, having had the most fantastic day. Not only was the scenic flight and cruise a super efficient way to see Milford Sound, avoiding the 10 hour round trip in the car which has the risk of the road being closed, it was breathtakingly beautiful and an experience of a lifetime.
For any of you nervous flyers out there, I felt in safe hands the entire way, so don’t let it deter you from this awesome experience!
Coming next…double trouble on a tandem in the Marlborough vineyards…
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Air Milford and Southern Discoveries in exchange for this post. As always it contains my honest opinion and I would never recommend a service that I didn’t love!