We chose to visit Milford Sound on New Year's Day. I'd been watching the weather for a few days before and it always seemed to be raining (and upon further research, I found that it actually rains more than half of the year). So hedging our bets on a quieter visit being the first of January, we set the alarm for half past five and began the mammoth journey from Queenstown.
There are a couple of places to stay that put you closer to the action so you don't have to do the 4-5 hour journey but, as always, the closer you get, the more you pay.
I would allow for more than four hours as there is so much to see along the way. Waterfalls, lakes, stunning viewpoint lookout spots, breakfast at The Fat Duck and a must-see visit to the chasm.
Because of time, we only stopped for breakfast and a twenty minute walk around the chasm. The roaring water and the way it's carved out the rocks really has to be seen to be believed.
When we arrived it was raining (typically) but by the time we were on our return journey along the fjord the sun had come out completely transforming our views. It was the perfect day.
Our trip was with Southern Discoveries and it was the Nature Encounter tour. More expensive than other companies and tours but a smaller boat so not such a busy feel to it. I'd not hesitate to do it again. Here are my highlights.