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Amazing Facts About Milford Sound

The incredible Milford Sound is more than just a picture-perfect place to visit. It is geographically unique, historically significant and incredibly important to surrounding wildlife and communities.

Read on to learn some amazing facts that will make your Milford Sound scenic flight all the more fascinating.


Milford Sound is not actually a sound

You might’ve heard this one before, but Milford Sound is not actually a sound—it is a fiord. What’s the difference? Well, a sound is formed when a river valley is flooded by the sea, whereas a fiord (or fjord) is typically created when a glacier carves a valley which is then filled by the sea.

Milford Sound is deep!

You couldn’t tell from a scenic flight over Milford Sound, but some parts of the fiord are an astonishing 400m deep. This means that you could take Auckland’s Sky tower and put at the bottom of the fiord, and you’d still have over 70m—the width of a rugby field—between the tower’s tip and the surface of the water.

Pounamu can be found near Milford Sound

Precious Pounamu or greenstone can be found near Milford Sound. Also known as jade or nephrite, Pounamu was formed hundreds of millions of years ago by the recrystallisation of minerals within rocks deep under the earth’s surface. You can actually see where the Pounamu can be found on your Milford Sound scenic flight—just ask our pilot to point it out!

The highest waterfall provides power and water

The Lady Bowen Falls is Milford Sound’s tallest waterfall, standing at 161m high. Through a small hydroelectric scheme, the falls provide electricity for the Milford Sound village which is home to around 120 residents. But that’s not all—the impressive Lady Bowen Falls is also the main water source for the local community.

Dolphins can be seen in Milford Sound

There are thought to be over 60 Bottlenose dolphins living in the area, and occasionally visits are made by the dusky dolphin—the Bottlenose’s slightly smaller friend—and the rare southern right whale. You may spot some of these beautiful mammals from the window of your scenic flight, so keep a close eye out for any action!

It rains there for half the year

On average, rain falls in Milford Sound on 182 days of the year. The mean annual rainfall in Milford Sound is 6,813mm, so with most areas of New Zealand experiencing between 600mm and 1600mm of rainfall, it is definitely one of the rainiest parts of the country. This won’t make a different to your scenic flight experience though—the waterfalls look even more spectacular with a good bout of rain!

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