Mitre Peak, Fiordland. © David Wall

Mitre Peak and Milford Sound: seeing is believing


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

Many visitors to Fiordland don’t believe in Mitre Peak. The tour guide on their launch trip points to a bluff rising vertically into the curtain of low cloud and announces that if only it were clear, that’s where the majestic vista familiar to consumers of postcards the world over could be seen.

Yeah right, the sceptics mutter, and depart, darkly suspecting that the pictures of the great triangular peak rising from its inverse in the mirror-smooth waters of the Sound were cleverly put together in a suite of image manipulation software.

But even those who miss out on seeing the area’s A-list celebrity peak won’t leave Milford Sound disappointed. When you visit in the rain – and with rain falling on over 200 days out of 365, there’s a pretty high chance you will – you’ll see it with all the taps turned on, and that’s a sight to behold. Over 100 waterfalls start gushing from the sheer walls of the Sound. The largest of these, Stirling Falls, crashes 146m from the rocky cleft from which it issues to the glassy sea.

The Sound – okay, for the pedants, it’s really a fiord – is the sight for sore eyes that greets walkers emerging from the Milford Track, but it can be reached by road via the Homer Tunnel and by air as well. To appreciate it fully, you need to get out on the water, whether on one of the many cruises available or by kayak.

A perfectly still moment in Milford Sound 📷: @hamishstubbs

A post shared by Milford Sound, New Zealand (@mitrepeakcruises) on Aug 18, 2016 at 9:48pm PDT

The intrepid can join a guided scuba party, and be rewarded with a close-up look at black coral. This usually occurs well below the depths to which recreational divers can safely go, but at Milford a layer of tannin-rich fresh water sits atop the seawater, recreating the twilight of the abyss in the shallows.

Or you can cheat: anyone who can handle a descent of the spiral staircase of the Milford Sound marine observatory can get the same view.

Many of the other peaks crowding to the margins of the long waterway nudge 2000 metres. The highest of Mitre Peak’s five summits rears 1683 metres from the water, and the water itself at its deepest point is 420 metres straight down. But in the end, the numbers mean nothing. The ineffable scale and grandeur of this landscape has to be experienced to be believed.

And if Mitre Peak does deign to reveal itself on the day of your visit, prepare to have your flabber well and truly gasted.

Explore more...


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Natural attractions

Fiordland National Park: the eighth wonder

Fiordland National Park is home to what many consider New Zealand’s most stunning natural attraction – the breathtaking Milford Sound, also known as the eighth wonder of the world. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Milford Foreshore Walk

Wander through beech forest and along the sandy foreshore of Milford Sound, learn about the area from interpretative panels and enjoy fabulous views of Mitre Peak on this easy walk. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Milford Sound Lookout Track

Enjoy impressive views of stunning Milford Sound from a lookout on this short, easy walking track. But take sandfly repellent with you!  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Road trips

Te Anau to Milford Sound Piopiotahi Highway: the journey into the heart of Fiordland.

If you want to take in Fiordland’s wilderness, vastness and beauty without being drenched in that seemingly perpetual rain, take the Piopiotahi Highway. Read the story . . . 

Fiordland Region Where to stay in

4.7 /5
From $150
4.7 /5
Shakespeare House

Bed & Breakfast with private rooms and ensuites. Personal approach to ensure you get the best from your holiday time from local hosts. . . . More . . . 

From $150

Book now

Book now

4.1 /5
From $16
4.1 /5
Best Price Around
Fiordland Great Views Holiday Park Visit website

Established family park with lake/mountain views, new (2009) toilet/shower facilities with underfloor heating and private facilities. 4 minutes drive to town centre, 1.2km from town boundary. . . . More . . . 

From $16

Book now

Book now

4.4 /5
From $95
4.4 /5
Best Price Around
Lakeside Motel & Apartments Visit website

Lakeside Motel is set amongst beautiful gardens on the shores of Lake Te Anau. The motel commands a spectacular view of the lake and mountains. . . . More . . . 

From $95

Book now

Book now

From $170
Acheron Cottages

Mountain and rural outlook but only a 2 minute drive to Doubtful Sound departure point. Self-contained, self-catering, serviced accommodation. At the doorstep of Fiordland National Park. . . . More . . . 

From $170

Book now

Book now