Whether the Weather – 5 Tips to Ensure You SEE Milford Sound

Whether the Weather – 5 Tips to Ensure You SEE Milford Sound

Friday, August 16th, 2013

When you come to Queenstown, Milford Sound rates as one of the “must do’s” and flying is the most convenient, not to mention spectacular, way to get there. One of the biggest challenges however is the unique climate that Fiordland presents, unlike any other in the world. A common question we receive is “why can’t we fly to Milford Sound today when it’s a beautiful day here in Queenstown”? When you explain that Milford receives 7m (275in) of rainfall annually, and Queenstown less than 1m (40in), you begin to understand how the weather can influence your visual experience in Milford Sound, that’s if you get there at all!

On average we can only fly to Milford Sound 200 days per year, that’s a mere 55%. The pilots at Air Milford, who’s have a combined 50+ years flying experience in the Fiordland Mountains, have come up with 5 tips to help ensure you fall on the right side of the statistic.

  1. Book on your first available day in Queenstown. That way if we can’t fly on this day, we can simply roll you over to the next best day. Many guests are disappointed when they can’t fly to Milford because they tried to save the best till last.
  2. Many activities in Queenstown are non-weather dependent, and can be re-scheduled around your Milford experience.
  3. Contact us as soon as you land in Queenstown. This way our pilots can provide you with a detailed weather forecast and the most accurate prediction of a flying day.
  4. Enquire with Air Milford about their “Milford Sound Wet Weather Option”. This is a Fly/Coach/Cruise/Coach/Fly combination, utilising a private airstrip located just 1 ½ hrs drive from Milford Sound (refer to map1). This is a great last resort if long-term, inclement weather has postponed direct flights.
  5. Finally, not every operator has the same aircraft, with some better suited to the environment than others. Do your research on the company’s fleet; our recommendation is to request to fly on the state-of-the-art Cessna Caravan. This type of aircraft is the largest plane operating into Milford Sound, which is less effected by turbulence. Its quiet turbine engine, leather interior, high-wing, and air conditioning make it the most comfortable way to see Milford.


Flying to Milford Sound from Queenstown is only a 35minute scenic ‘hop’ across the Southern Alps (in comparison to 5hrs by road), which makes it the logical way to travel. Air Milford is a family owned and operated business, based in Queenstown and flying to Milford Sound on a ‘weather dependent’ basis. Please refer to their listing under SCENIC FLIGHTS for more details.

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