One of the most beautiful roads in the world spans seventy-five miles and takes you from Te Anau to Milford Sound in New Zealand. This path, also known as State Highway 94, weaves through the Fiordland National Park in southwest New Zealand. As you drive along this winding road, you can take in the impressive natural landscapes of rain-forested mountains, towering waterfalls, and glassy lakes. Though the drive only takes two hours, there are plenty of stops along the way that make this one of the most scenic and exciting highways in the world.
A few minutes into your road trip, stop at the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, a large system of water-filled caves near Te Anau Lake. Here, visitors can take a boat tour through the underground system to witness and explore the caves illuminated by thousands of glowworms living on the walls.
Further along in your journey, you’ll run into the stunning Mirror Lakes in the Eglinton Valley. Just a short walk from the side of the road, these lakes are famous for reflecting the blue sky and the surrounding Earl Mountains on a clear day. The lakes are also home to some rare water birds, such as the New Zealand Scaup or the Pāpango, which is New Zealand’s smallest duck.
Near the end of your drive, you will pass through the historic Homer Tunnel, a three-quarters-of-a-mile-long tunnel carved out of the Darran Mountains. Construction first began on the tunnel in 1935 but was not completed until 1954. Before then, no road access to Milford Sound existed. There are no lights in this solid-rock tunnel, so be sure to turn on your headlights!
Right after you exit the Homer Tunnel, you can take a short hike through the rainforest and over the footbridges that lead to the Chasm. Carved out by the Cleddau River, the Chasm is a fissure in the rocks where several waterfalls come through. This is one of the most popular stops along Milford Road and is guaranteed to be an exciting final site before entering Milford Sound.
Your journey on State Highway 94 ends as you descend into Milford Sound, a large fjord of water surrounded by towering mountains. Here, you can hike through the rainforests, search for penguins and dolphins, or take a boat trip across the lakes to witness stunning cliffs and waterfalls. One of the most popular natural sites in New Zealand, this fjord is the perfect end to your road trip.
Written by Hannah Murdock