One of approximately 90 places around New Zealand that have become dual named with both te reo Maori and European names, Milford Sound’s te reo Maori name is Piopiotahi, being named after the Piopio, a native thrush-like bird now extinct.
According to legend, a single Piopio bird flew to Milford Sound in mourning following the death of Maui. In honour of this event the fiord was named Piopiotahi. Tahi meaning “one” in te reo. The fiord’s European name came from a seal hunter named John Grono, who named the fiord after Milford Haven, his birth place in Wales
Despite being called a Sound, which is more correctly an underwater river valley system, Milford Sound and its cousins to the South, are true Fiords, in that they are all carved by glaciers which ground deep into the Fiordland bed-rock over the course of a millennia or more. Today, the fiord is about 15 km long and is surrounded by sheer rock faces that in places climb to 1200m or more above the water line.
Milford Sound also sports two permanent waterfalls; Lady Bowen Falls (162m) and Stirling Falls (151m). Both of these falls are over three times the height of North America’s Niagara Falls, but are dwarfed by the sheer scale of the cliffs surrounding them. There are also numerous other lesser waterfalls that come and go depending on the rainfall, of which Milford Sound regularly receives close to 6.5m annually, making it one of the wettest places on the planet.
Although we have other tours that share Milford Sound as part of that tour, the two tours we feature here, both concentrate specifically on Milford Sound, and Fiordland.
These two tours depart from, and return to Christchurch and come in a three day and a six day package. Each tour is designed as an entire package and is all inclusive